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QM conference

Honours for pioneers of cross-border research alliances

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Petersen awarded the GIQS award to Manfred Nüssel

More than 100 participants from industry, science and administration came together for the first day of the Quality Management Conference, which was held from 28.2. – 2.3. in the University of Bonn, where they exchanged information on the issue of quality communication. Cross-border communication in the agricultural and food sector was the main focus on the first day of the conference. However, in the course of the following days when the annual meeting of the GQW, the Gesellschaft für Qualitätswissenschaft e.V., was staged, the agenda was primarily devoted to cross-sectoral dialogue and hence the exchange of ideas between engineers, economists and agronomists.

Only recently the latest case of dioxin in animal feed had shown how important the exchange of information is along the whole value-added chain for meat. As a reaction to this Ilse Aigner, the German Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, presented a plan of action for consumer protection in the animal feed chain, aimed at tackling the recognised failings.

The difficulty and importance of cross-border communication becomes clear when one considers that there is a very extensive exchange of feed, animals and slaughter products, in particular between the Netherland and Germany. Amongst other things, this involves the harmonisation of test methods, the type and frequency of monitoring inspections in slaughterhouses or the evaluation of samples taken by the pertinent authorities.

For ten years now the international research and development platform GIQS e.V has been coordinating international network programmes (such as SafeGuard or AIDA) in this field. To mark this, on the first day of the conference GIQS presented the Cross Border Public Private Partnership Award (CBP³) to two pioneers in setting up the research network for their commitment in shaping cross-border cooperation between Germany and the Netherlands.

Manfred Nüssel, President of the Deutscher Raiffeisenverband e.V., was honoured for his "excellent commitment in establishing cross-border and national alliances between industry and science in the field of quality communication in the value-added chain of the agricultural and food industry. The prize was also awarded to Dr. Martijn Weijtens, Member of the management team of the department of food quality and animal health at the "Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation" (NL) for his "excellent commitment to setting up research alliances between science, industry and public administration in the field of epizootic prevention and control". In addition three young research teams received the "International, Interdisciplinary, Integrative Junior Team Award" (I³JT) in the categories Innovation, Education and Research.

The importance of increased networking is now recognised and is also underlined by the BMBF's excellence cluster competition. The University of Bonn and GIQS are participating with the cluster offensive "borealis", whose aim is to establish a Centre of Excellence in Germany for safety technologies in the area of global food chains and flows of goods. Sector-wide and customised system solutions for the agricultural and food industry are intended to develop new user markets for safety technologies throughout the world.

In his ceremonial address Dr. Robert Kloos, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, also emphasised the importance of cross-border and cross-sectoral quality communication. Together with the deacon of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. Dr. Karl Schellander, and the Mayor of the City of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, he emphatically praised the importance of the excellence cluster competition for the university and the region.

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