hypoxiprojektet-6-foto af Sune-Riis-Sørensen

Ambitious move to strengthen animal health and welfare in the EU

DTU Aqua will contribute research and expertise to a major new 7-year European partnership of researchers and funds to help improve animal health and welfare. DTU Aqua will be leading research packages focusing on fish diseases and aquaculture.

The European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare, EUPAHW, is an ambitious research and innovation initiative kicked off this year by the European commission, EC, to control infectious diseases of animals, and to promote animal welfare.

The partners have collaborated to transpose 16 actions from the EUP Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, EUP SRIA, into 17 joint internal projects which are all three-year research projects which start in 2024. DTU Aqua is taking part in 12 of the 17 projects.

Read the press release from the Partnership’s central committee: European partnership of scientists and funders helping to improve animal health and welfare

DTU Aqua is part of the ambitious move in terms of contributing research and expertise in fish diseases and aquaculture. DTU Aqua's contributions will focus on developing better diagnostics of fish diseases, better preparedness in relation to emerging diseases and better prevention of fish diseases.

One project is in collaboration with DTU Food. The DTU Food Institute leads a sub-project on antibiotic resistance in disease-causing bacteria and parasites from animals and aquatic organisms that are used for food.

360 million Euros over seven years

The objectives of the European partnership fit in with the European Green Deal and its associated Farm to Fork strategy for a fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food system.

From its start, the EUP EUPAHW includes 56 Research Performing Organizations, RPO, and 30 Funding Organizations from 24 EU and non-EU European countries.

The Partnership is anticipated to invest €360 million over seven years to boost research and facilitate cooperation between all actors. The scope goes beyond the animal health and welfare actors to enhance cross sector collaboration and, through a One Health and One Welfare approach, to provide societal impact.

The ambitious objectives of the EUP AH&W have attracted a diverse pool of partners, including 56 leading research performing organizations and 30 funding organizations in Europe. The budget is 50% funded by the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, and 50% by EUP AH&W partner institutions.

Long history of DTU research within the areas of veterinary and foodborne diseases

Altogether, DTU is participating in 12 of the upcoming 17 research projects in the The European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare.

DTU has a long history of research within the areas of veterinary and foodborne diseases, with aquaculture production, fish nutrition and welfare of farmed fish.

In addition, DTU research spans a long range of areas that complements the development of technology and knowledge requirements of the PAHW topics.

DTU will contribute, mainly through the departments DTU Aqua and DTU Food, to all work packages. However, the main focus of in-kind and general efforts are directed towards work package WP3 Joint Initiatives & Integration.

At DTU Aqua, a total of five PhDs and 1 postdoc will be assigned to the project, plus senior and tenure track researchers.

Altoghter, the 56 Research Performing Organizations in the project will provide significant research-based advice to competent authorities in the EU and are the backbone of Animal Health & Welfare, AHW, research in Europe.

The objectives of the EUP AH&W align with the European Green Deal and its associated Farm to Fork strategy for a fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly food system.

Photo: Sune Riis Sørensen

More facts

The focus from DTU Aqua's side is on:

  • Better diagnostics of fish diseases, including: Bacterial species identification and early detection of Abtimocrobial resistance, Harmonizing use of diagnostic tools, Improvement of diagnostic tools, specifically for early detection, Test and validation of eDNA for early/ non-invasive disease detection and Validation of chip for diagnostics of several pathogens and immune markers at the same time.
  • Better preparedness, including: Better overview of emerging diseases and diseases with unknown etiology, Understanding of the economic consequences of disease and cost-benefit of prevention, Better overview of interaction between wild fish and farmed fish, Work with overview of AMR in aquaculture.
  • Prevention of disease, including: Better understanding of immune response in different life stages, Development of better methods to administer vaccine, Use of breeding and feed for resistance, Methods for monitoring, and biosecurity, e.g. disinfection and D) Fish welfare, including: Harmonization of welfare indicators in fish welfare, Identification of factors of importance for welfare in aquaculture, Multi-dimensional assessment of sustainability and welfare.