Coordinating access to top class research infrastructure is the aim of a new platform to be developed by a pan-European team of aquaculture research facilities. The project, titled Aquaexcel (‘Aquaculture Infrastructures for Excellence in European Fish Research'), has been funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project will be led by Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France, and includes 16 partner institutions from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK.
Marc Vandeputte, researcher at INRA and coordinator of the project feels that today the European aquaculture sector is facing complex challenges which can only be solved by providing research teams with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and the right biological resources. Over twenty aquaculture research facilities are represented in the consortium. A multidisciplinary team of experts specialising in fish nutrition, physiology, health and welfare, genetics, monitoring and management technologies, and engineering will carry out the project. Their aim is to link and coordinate key research infrastructure in Europe in order to create the basis for harmonizing access, joint research, and networking. By fostering links between academia and the industry itself, the researchers hope to improve market-driven research priorities, evidence-based products and services, and efficient knowledge transfer. The project will also map out the aquaculture research infrastructure capacity across Europe. This online tool will help to create a new research environment in which all researchers, regardless of their location in the world, have shared access to unique scientific facilities, including data, instruments, computing, and communications.