The current Dutch presidency of the European Union (EU) has launched an initiative to improve food industry research within the EU, encouraging national centres of excellence to work together.

It is staging a survey on ongoing and future projects on agriculture related research and its results will be debated at a meeting of senior officials next February 2005, where governments will discuss how to boost cooperation within the EU's Standing Committee for Agricultural Research.

Its conclusions will feed into ongoing debates on the priorities of the seventh framework programme on research for 2007-10 now being drawn up by the European Commission and which could command a €40bn (US$53.3bn) budget.