The history of FABRE TP
The setup of the Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction Technology Platform (FABRE TP) was initiated by EFFAB in 2005. FABRE-TP was then launched in 2006. The Technology Platform was industry led, with strong involvement of many stakeholders. The FABRE-TP vision has been formed by the commitment of approximately 116 organisations, industrial organisations as well as knowledge institutes. A Strategic Research Agenda and an Implementation Plan have been developed based on this vision.
Since 2009, FABRE-TP continued, as requested by the stakeholders, as an informal platform, funded by several stakeholders. The European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB), which manages the FABRE TP secretariat, contributes to creating opportunities for a strong business climate for the European Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction Industry. Every year, FABRE-TP provides research priorities, and these are being transferred to the European Commission and other relevant bodies. FABRE TP also participated as a stakeholder in the preparations of the 8th Framework for RTD of the European Commission (Horizon 2020) and was/is involved in various European inputs in the Knowledge Bio-Based economy.
From 2009 to 2011 FABRE-TP participated in the FP7 project BECOTEPS in which The Bio-Economy Technology Platforms joined forces to address synergies and gaps between their Strategic Research Agendas.
In 2011 FABRE TP published its second Strategic Research Agenda. Many experts were involved in identifying the research needs for animal breeding and reproduction.
During 2012 and 2013 this SRA was used to provide input for H2020 in general and for the Working Programme (WP) 2014-2015. This was done directly to DG Research and indirectly through the Animal Task Force (via the ATF White Paper written in 2012).
Based on this input, several Calls with breeding and reproduction aspects were published by the EU Commission, first in the framework of FP7 and since 2014 in the framework of H2020 WP 2014.
The SRA of 2011 was not followed by an Implementation Plan (IP).
Since 2012 the General Secretary of FABRE TP acts as vice-chair - currently as vice-president - of the Animal Task Force, representing the industry members.
In 2012 FABRE-TP was asked to become vice-chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Board of the FACCE-JPI (Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change). Via this position the national and European research agendas were/are influenced.
After a comprehensive evaluation by the EU Commission, FABRE-TP was again recognized in 2013 as a Technological Platform. Such a status has a lot of advantages:
However, TP’s can only maintain their status if they fulfil certain requirements. They should be alive and active. They should do more than only deliver input to EU Research Programs such as the WP’s. They should stimulate and initiate research projects in their sectors. TP’s should be industry driven, but it is accepted that also knowledge institutions are part of it.
The EU2020 strategy for ETPs describes that an ETP should:
The activity level of 2014 was rather limited and would not be enough to expect a positive result in a next evaluation. For maintaining the TP status, reactivation was needed. A lack of human resources in EFFAB and FABRE TP was the reason for the decreased level of activities in 2014. Nevertheless, some input was delivered for the WP 2016-2017, directly as well as indirectly (via the ATF).
Considering the limited activities of FABRE TP in 2014, the partial overlap with the Animal Task Force, the financial situation, the doubtful TP status etc., it was necessary to evaluate the status. There had to be decided whether FABRE TP should be reactivated (or not), in which way, how it should be budgeted and so on.
Since the start of FABRE TP the budget (€ 60,000. -) was provided by EFFAB (€ 20,000. -), INRA, WUR, NOFIMA and KTN (each € 10,000. -). Other knowledge institutions were on the mailing list but they didn’t contribute to the budget. INRA, WUR and KTN had expressed that they could not continue the payment of € 10,000. -, considering several circumstances.
There were some reasons for abolishing FABRE TP, first there were already enough platforms to define research priorities for animal breeding and reproduction such as the Animal Task Force (ATF) and the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), secondly EFFAB could take over the position of FABRE TP in the ATF.
However, there were also many reasons for reactivating FABRE TP; first, to maintain the official status with the EC (The ATF and EFFAB do not have an EC TP status). And, in addition, without the input of knowledge institutes, EFFAB is not able to provide an appropriate research agenda and has limited resources to deliver this. Next to that, the ATF integrates all aspects of animal research (livestock and aquaculture). On the one side this is necessary, on the other side it waters down the position of breeding and reproduction in the research and innovation arena. The philosophy behind ATF was to ensure enough funding for the animal domain in relation to other domains. FABRE-TP can specify what the needs are within the animal (breeding and reproduction) domain. Lastly, FABRE TP is an ideal meeting place for breeding and reproduction researchers, from the industry and from knowledge institutes. The conclusion that could be drawn from this is that abolition of FABRE TP would create an empty space in the research and innovation arena for Breeding and Reproduction.
On 6 March 2015, representatives of the EFFAB Steering Committee and the financing knowledge institutes came together at Schiphol Airport to discuss the situation. It was then decided to reactivate and to reconstruct FABRE TP. The most important part of the reconstruction was to open the membership for all knowledge institutes with breeding and reproduction activities with a membership fee related to the number of scientists (including PhDs) working in breeding and reproduction. The Preliminary Board developed a FABRE TP Mission, Internal Rules and an Action Plan for 2015.
The reactivated and reconstructed FABRE TP was re-launched in a special session at the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Warsaw on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. The meeting was chaired by Johan van Arendonk (WUR). More than 50 invitees participated in the meeting. Presentations were given by the European Commission (Marios Markakis from DG RTD) and the General Secretary. Marios Markakis underlined the importance of Technological Platforms for the EU Commission. The General Secretary gave a presentation about the ins and outs of the reconstructed FABRE TP. After the presentations and the discussion, a small workshop was held in which the participants had the possibility to discuss and propose priorities for future research agendas.
As of mid-2015 the secretariat started to approach knowledge institutes (KI’s) with breeding and reproduction for membership of FABRE TP. On 31 December 2015, the following KI’s had joined FABRE TP: INRA, NOFIMA, WUR, Aarhus University, Uppsala University, KTN, INIA, IRTA, SRUC, FBN Dummerstorf, NMBU, KU Leuven, University of Evora, University of Bologna and the Spallanzani Institute. As of 1 January 2016, many other institutes came on-board of FABRE TP and the number of members is still constantly growing.