Research & Innovation

Our focus in recent times has been to turn scientific excellence within the food sector into economic impact and deliver results through innovation, in collaboration with the public and private research community and governments.

Research & Innovation

This we have done by investing in high-potential European Union (EU) research and innovation projects as part of our science strategy, focusing on the priority areas we have identified; Next Generation Diagnostics, Food Integrity and Sustainable Agri-food Systems. This has enabled us to advance current knowledge and build momentum to focus on product innovation and improved services.

  • Number of Projects collaborating on
  • Key topics
    Food Authenticity & Food Fraud
  • Total number of collaborative partners
  • Next Project to Start
    EU China Safe

Food Focused Projects

Listed below are projects that have either been supported by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) or has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme or through Innovate UK. Fera Science Limited either coordinates or is a partner in the project consortium.


Comprising of 60 participants from 18 European countries and one from China, FoodIntegrity's key focus is be to consolidate, harmonise and mobilise the European capability on food authentication to ensure consumer confidence and protect European added value. The 5 year (2014-2018) €12M project will reduce the current barriers to data sharing and utilisation that is crucial to combating food fraud by supplying methods and tools that will address both enforcement and industry needs. The project will not only seek to enhance early warning capabilities, but working with industry, will develop methods, systems and processes that will assure the quality, authenticity and safety of the food chain.

AUTHENT-NET H2020 Coordinator

It is acknowledged that historically anti-food fraud capability within Europe has not been consolidated and lacks the coordination and support structures available to those working in food safety. There are various initiatives underway to redress this balance e.g. DG Santé’s Food Fraud network, DG Research’s Food Integrity project, as well as numerous national programmes and industry initiatives. One pivotal area that still needs to be addressed is bringing together national research funding bodies to facilitate the development of transnational research programmes. AUTHENT-NET will address this need by mobilising and coordinating relevant research budget holders in order to facilitate the eventual development of a transnational European funding vehicle that will allow Members States (MS) to jointly fund anti-fraud research. Authent-Net comprises a core group of 19 participants from 10 MS, 1 NGO (non-government organisation) and the US, who are either national research funding bodies; experts in food authenticity, and/or experts in transnational funding mechanisms.

Read More: AUTHENT-NET H2020 Project

OLEUM FP7 Partner

The OLEUM project will generate innovative, more effective and harmonized analytical solutions to detect and fight the most common and emerging frauds and to verify the overall quality of olive oils (OOs). By a core group of 20 partners from 15 countries OLEUM will undertake research activities based on the development of improved and new analytical methods by targeted and omics approaches with the aim: 

i) to detect new markers of the soft deodorization process; 

ii) to discover illegal blends between OOs and other vegetable oils; 

iii) to control OO quality (e.g. freshness); 

iv) to improve the organoleptic assessment with a Quantitative Panel Test, based on current official methods, and supported by tailored reference materials for better calibration of the sensory panels coupled with rapid screening tools to facilitate the work of the panelists. 

The most promising OLEUM solutions will be subjected to validation in conformity with internationally agreed standards by peer laboratories. OLEUM will recreate a realistic “deodorisation scenario” by producing tailored, soft deodorised OOs by lab-scale and up-scaled pilot plants to apply analytical solutions to known samples. Substantial knowledge and technology transfer activities will be envisaged to aid in implementation of: 

a) a web-based easily-accessible, scalable and constantly updated OLEUM DATABANK, containing all the information from OLEUM research and other reliable international sources, will be available for download data and spectra and to help achieve satisfactory harmonization of analytical approaches among control laboratories; 

b) the OLEUM NETWORK of relevant OOs stakeholders to maximize the impact of proposed analytical solutions. 

Finally, a robust dissemination strategy by the OLEUM project aimed at effectively sharing results with all stakeholders in the OO supply chain has the potential to improve consumer and market confidence, and preserve the image of OOs on a global scale.

Read the latest in developments when it comes to authenticity of olive oil:

Read more: EU H2020 OLEUM Project Update

EU CHINA SAFE H2020 Partner

EU-China-Safe will mobilise resources in Europe and China to develop a cohesive partnership that will deliver a shared vision for food safety and authenticity and work towards “mutual recognition”. Comprising 16 participants from the EU and 17 from China, EU-China-Safe contains key research organisations, Government and industry needed to develop and jointly implement major advances in improving food safety and combating food fraud in the two trading blocks. EU-China-Safe will build the core components needed for a joint EU-China food safety control system comprising: control management, food legislation, food inspection, food control laboratories, and food safety and quality information, education and communication. The project will develop an EU-China Joint Laboratory Network that will achieve and demonstrate equivalency of results, and will develop a state of the art virtual laboratory, with interchangeable staff from two continents, that will be used as a “showcase” to communicate and demonstrate best practice. Innovative traceability tools will strengthen the most vulnerable supply chains. New or improved detection capabilities for chemical/microbiological hazards and food fraud will be implemented in a harmonised way across the EU-China network.

Trade barriers caused by food safety and fraud issues will be analysed and recommendations of how to predict and prevent future events disseminated. The project will focus on the most commonly reported foods linked to chemical and microbiological contamination and fraud (infant formula, processed meat, fruits, vegetables, wine, honey, spices). Substantial knowledge transfer and training actions will build high-level and long-term collaboration, synergies and trust between a wide range of EU and China actors.  These advances, in addition to a wider range of confidence building measures towards food safety, authenticity and transparency, will address consumer expectations and facilitate an expansion of EU-China trade.

An integrated platform for rapid testing of pathogens in the meat/poultry supply chain

This project will develop a system for rapid detection of hazardous bacteria in foodstuffs. The system is highly innovative, and will be easy to use by food handlers, and farm workers, without needing to send samples to third parties for analysis. This system will help to improve food safety and reduce infections in humans, which will increase consumer confidence in the UK food supply. This work is funded by Innovate UK.

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