The strategic plan for EAAP is the framework for leading the federation for the next four years. To develop a strategy and working plan to meet these challenges, EAAP created a Strategic Planning Committee. After a first introductory meeting held in Copenhagen 2014 and electronic exchanges, the second face-to-face meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee was held in Warsaw in 2015 during the annual meeting, then successive versions circulated among the different EAAP bodies until the 155th Council Meeting. The final version will be adopted by the General Assembly of August 2016. This strategic plan is coincident with the mandate of the EAAP President 2016-2020. This strategic plan will be evaluated at mid-term or ¾ term of its duration.

All country and individual members should appropriate this plan and be involved in its application. The Strategic Plan is the business of all members. From the president to the individual members, through the Council, the Committees and Country representatives should feel responsible for its implementation.

Addressing the changes in the livestock industry, the place of animal production in the society, the fast development of animal science, and the budget constraints in European countries will be critical for the future of EAAP. However, the European animal science community is highly dynamic and a very powerful source of innovations along the value chain from animal farms to animal products, so new opportunities will also arise.

Mission

To promote research, discussion, debate and dissemination of high quality and relevant animal science findings amongst the scientific communities, the livestock industry, civil society and groups with interests in livestock production.

Vision

  • To be the umbrella of Animal Science Societies of the large Europe
  • To be the leading dissemination channel of scientific results for European animal science researchers
  • To represent European animal science to community worldwide
  • To be the most important network for animal science, and its interaction with livestock industry, civil society and policy representatives
  • To become the place in Europe where young scientists first present their work to other researchers

Objectives and relevant actions

The main actions to meet future challenges were identified and fell under the following categories:

  • To ensure that all animal science disciplines feel that EAAP is important to them
  • To increase the involvement of young scientists in the Board, in the planning and logistics of the annual meeting and in the scholarship process
  • To increase the involvement of scientists from non-European countries in EAAP
  • To strengthen the cohesion of the federation
  • To enlarge the dissemination of scientific and technical results
  • To promote animal science
  • To further increase the scientific quality of the annual meetings
  • To strengthen the presence of the federation in European projects
  • To enhance the interface with the industry
  • To enhance the interface with the civil society
  • To further improve administrative efficiency of EAAP
  • To actively engage with existing Animal Science organisations and other scientific societies (behaviour and welfare, agronomy, agricultural economics, natural resource management, grassland management, precision livestock farming, aquaculture, etc.) to pursue shared goals and activity where appropriate

For each of these main categories we described the relevant aspects and actions to take:

EAAP wants to increase the involvement of young scientists including graduate students to provide opportunities and venues for development of their European animal science network and their scientific careers. It is also expected that this better integration in the whole “system of EAAP” may allow young scientists to change the general view and efficiency of animal science in Europe. The creation of a Club of young scientists in 2013 has led to a better involvement of these young scientists into the life of the federation. This will be pursued in the new strategic plan and a specific effort will be made to permanently include young scientists in the different management groups of EAAP. The recommendation in 2014 to create a specific “Young scientist award” was followed up and mechanisms for increasing its visibility inside and outside EAAP were developed. The classical “Scientific writing” workshop held one day before the annual meeting will be renewed in order to be adapted to the new context of scientific communications. Specific informatics tools will be a focus, in order to build scientific networks by young scientists. A platform for connecting job offers and the competencies of graduate students will stimulate the employment of young animal scientists in industry and in European research laboratories involved in animal science. Grants for students were increased. Furthermore, new social communication platforms will be offered during and between EAAP conferences to maintain the exchange between young scientists. A specific call to young scientists will be done once every trimester by the EAAP office to collect information to be published in the EAAP Newsletter for transmission to all EAAP members.

One of the objectives for this strategic plan is to strengthen the links between EAAP and its national members in order to reach a better cohesion among them. A systematic annual report will be circulated to individual country members in order to promote the different programs which have been accomplished and which involve the scientists and professionals of the considered country, and/or which could be of general interest for the country. The involvement of scientists from the respective country into the different bodies of EAAP will be reported. The book of abstracts of the annual EAAP conference, the 4 annual issues of Animal Frontiers, the titles and abstracts of the 12 annual issues of our journal ANIMAL and all issues of ADVANCES IN ANIMAL BIOSCIENCE will be sent annually to the EAAP country representatives. A specific call to these country representatives will be often done by the EAAP office to collect information from the country to be published in the EAAP Newsletter for transmission to all EAAP members. Monitoring that the contacts between country representatives and the respective animal science communities will be strengthen. Simultaneously, we will continue the efforts to create and maintain a direct link with individual members to improve the feeling of individual belonging to EAAP. The EAAP brand must be protected and disseminated for strengthening the importance of its activities and to constitute a banner for the country members. With the actions and services from this strategic plan, the EAAP brand should become easily recognizable and represent a symbol of relevance and scientific integrity in European animal science. EAAP should be an advocate for science-based solutions to animal agriculture issues at both the EU and individual country levels. A specific attention should be given to the non European EAAP members concerning their animal production development issues and participation within the EAAP programs and activities.

One important responsibility of EAAP is to disseminate animal science and related research results.  The academic community, society and industry have a need for animal science research results that EAAP can and must satisfy. Other important groups, to whom EAAP should focus their attention, including: young scientists graduate students, animal agricultural teachers, NGOs, regulators, professional societies, civil society and policy makers.  This last group is becoming more important as international trade of animal products is expected to increase in the future and because NGOs are expected to enlarge their relevance.  Proper dissemination gives a very central role to EAAP.  The importance of disseminating scientific information to a wider public is a duty of EAAP and of animal scientists. More specifically, EAAP can play an active role in the current public debate on livestock as such debate still lacks sound scientific information. EAAP can contribute to the public debate by providing a synthetic and balanced overview of scientific knowledge and remaining gaps. EAAP should join existing multi-stakeholder platforms; this could provide very effective ways to disseminate knowledge and to link with listed groups. The annual meeting, see below, is one of the most important tools for information and dissemination primarily to academicians, young scientists, graduate students, regulatory scientists, and industry stakeholders.  In future years EAAP needs to continue to improve the annual meeting, in the form of agenda setting for animal science, thus supporting scientist in their own prioritization of work, and to open it to new participants, especially policy makers. EAAP can contribute to make the agenda for animal science b supporting scientists in their own prioritizing of work. The journal ANIMAL, like ANIMAL FRONTIERS and ADVANCES IN ANIMAL BIOSCIENCES are also important tools for dissemination; while ANIMAL and ADVANCES are mainly relevant for scientists, ANIMAL FRONTIERS is more focus on industry, agriculture teachers and policy makers. EAAP must contribute to building new competencies and improve the reputation of ANIMAL, as one of the premier animal science journals in the world to better serve the animal science community.  EAAP should encourage worldwide scientists to submit their best manuscripts to ANIMAL. During the next strategic plan, these publications should continue to increase their quality in terms of content and their dissemination within their respective readership, as well as increasing the distribution and readership of ANIMAL. An active, coordinated approach among the Council, the Scientific Committee and the Secretariat will be required to successfully accomplish the objective. We will increase the role of the Scientific Commissions to publish special issues in the above journals. The name of EAAP’s journal, ANIMAL, and of all other members of the ANIMAL family, should be highly recognized among reputable international journals. Other avenues of communication to members and animal science stakeholders, including websites, scientific and technical series books, networking chat group sessions and other more current devices like podcasts and social networks (i.e. Apps, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) will be used to better disseminate information. EAAP may join existing multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (http://www.livestockdialogue.org/), as this could provide very effective ways to disseminate knowledge, but also to link with the groups listed above.  A new website, a more up-to-date and more regular Newsletter, raised in 2015, will continue to be developed during this strategic plan.

EAAP must enhance its role to act as a platform for “Excellence in Innovation in Livestock Production” based on sound science. Areas of regional and global concern, as well as new areas where animal production provides new options and benefits, needs to be promoted by the Scientific Committee at the annual meeting as well as in workshops (such as sustainable animal production systems, animal behaviour and animal welfare, genetics, biotechnologies, food security, technology use, animal food and feed safety, multidisciplinary and holistic approaches to key problems identified by EAAP’s stakeholders.). EAAP should promote collaborative relationships with other scientific societies within and outside Europe, in order to meet the aforementioned goal.  Cooperation with societies having a current relationship with EAAP, especially those who are direct members of EAAP, will be strengthened. With the same objective, EAAP should also keep the leading role in the World Association of Animal Production. EAAP has a social responsibility and it must work not only in dissemination of research results but also in the promotion of the relevance of animal production in society. To obtain this objective, EAAP will organise meetings and workshops outside the annual meeting and invite the participation of policy makers, NGO’s and representatives from society at large. EAAP will continue to develop and strengthen its collaboration with the Animal Task Force in order to coordinate the objectives of the two organisations, to organise a coordinated set of actions to promote animal science to policy makers, especially at the European level, in order to maximise the changes to insert priorities for the future in the working programmes of H2020. The services to EAAP individual members will be improved and enlarged. EAAP will offer tailored services to animal scientists based on the expressed fields of interests of the members themselves. The plan is that each year there is a ‘suggestions’ box where attendees can make suggestions and to provide feedback. This can be used to gauge improvements in service.

The annual meeting is the main focus of EAAP activities. It is the premier annual European meeting of animal science and the second in the world, in terms of attendance and importance. Enhanced industry involvement in planning, sponsorship, and scientific sharing and discussion and an updated structure should be further increased. Additional improvements in the annual meeting will be continuously pursued through enhancing quality of science offered and by enlarging the network of EAAP stakeholders. A reflection should be engaged within the scientific committee to establish more stringent reviewing process of the abstracts submitted rather than increase the number of sessions needed to meet the submission increase. Increased country member and individual member involvement is required to achieve these objectives. The Council and the Secretariat, following the recommendations presented in 2013 by the Forward Looking Group, improved the decision making structure of the annual session. The format of Scientific Committee has been reviewed and updated to successfully address existing and new challenges. The creation of new types of sessions (i.e. Discovery and Challenge sessions) has allowed development of “hot topics” in the subjects covered during the annual meeting; this will be pursued during this strategic plan. These changes were instituted following consultation with all EAAP committees during the first year of the preceding strategic plan. Thus, this strategic plan will be dedicated to strengthening the new structure and modes of functioning and will be reviewed and amended annually. EAAP should also be more open to new disciplines related to animal science and then reflecting this inclusiveness in the annual meetings. This is essential to continue to serve well the animal science network, the society at large and to maintain the leading role of EAAP in facilitating science development and dissemination. Partner animal science organisations will continue to be involved in programming the annual meetings, in order to increase involvement of research scientists from outside Europe. Finally, the annual meeting must play a larger role in addressing societal and industry concerns and informing policy makers.

The EAAP network of animal scientists is one of the most powerful ways in Europe to build scientific consortia foster the emergence of new ideas and areas for animal science for the construction of European projects. In the last years of the preceding strategic plan, a very fruitful association with ATF has been developed to better define the European animal industry needs and align these needs with the ideas of animal scientists. This effort has contributed significantly to define priorities of the call for proposals of the FP7 and H2020 programmes. EAAP has already been active in that field by facilitating exchanges amongst the scientific community, but has also been present as a participant in EU projects, which helps disseminate the activities and research of the European animal science community.  The support from EU to these projects helps to create proper facilities and to define future activities. The proposition that EAAP will be responsible for coordinating the work-package and be in charge of dissemination tasks of EU projects built by their members will be encouraged. EAAP will continue to organize specific relevant workshops, especially during the annual meetings. EAAP will also play a role in keeping animal science and animal production on the EU research and innovation agenda, namely in “H2020”, as well as linking with the Animal Task Force and other relevant organizations.

EAAP must work to create a good interface between academia and industry. EAAP should put in place mechanisms to specifically address this issue and to be structured and well organised to improve these interactions. EAAP should also work more closely with the livestock industry, genetic and feed companies, pharmaceutical industry and trade as they define animal welfare, health and product quality programmes and prices. All interactions should be based on sound science.  As an example, the  “Animal Frontiers” journal can be targeted to educate policy makers on global animal agriculture concerns and possible solutions.

EAAP must work to create a good interface between academia and civil society. Other important interfaces in which EAAP should be active are between animal production and the media. EAAP will improve interactions between animal scientists and NGOs especially in the fields of animal welfare, food and feed safety, food security, environmental issues and consumer issues.  EAAP must be more open, transparent and accessible to society, media, regulators, and policy makers. EAAP must work closely with these groups trying to better understand critical issues facing these groups and then provide answers to their questions and concerns. It is very important to notice that main concerns of governments around Europe seem to revolve around animal welfare, food safety and environmental standards. EAAP should work to assure that all policy interactions are based on sound science.

To better achieve the necessary objectives EAAP will make necessary use of Service EAAP S.r.l. that is the business company fully belonging to EAAP. Service EAAP S.r.l. will support specific activities, like management of publications, sponsorships, scholarships and organization of meetings and workshops. EAAP staff will work full time for EAAP or Service EAAP and EU projects during this strategic planning cycle (which was not the case in the preceding one). The continuous update of clear protocols with schedules for managing EAAP meetings will be pursued. The implementation of an evaluation survey after each EAAP meeting will be done annually. To ensure harmony between the secretariat and the scientific commissions, a specific platform will be developed on the EAAP website to serve as an interface between members of the board of commissions and the EAAP office. This portal will essentially be dedicated to the preparation of the annual meeting and will be a permanent record of all communications. A precise definition of the different tasks of the members of the staff will be provided and applied at the onset of this strategic plan. An external auditing company will be appointed to undertake the annual accounting of EAAP and leading to the partly replacement of the EAAP Board of auditors, the activities of which will be modified.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Recognised role in Europe as key Animal Science organisation
  • Large participation at annual meetings
  • Expertise and commitment of volunteer scientists and staff
  • Journals and Magazine outputs
  • Small expert staff
  • Collaboration with North-American and other societies of Animal Science
  • Scholarships for young scientists to attend the meeting

Weaknesses

  • Low annual budget and economic difficulties of members
  • Lack of feeling of affiliation to EAAP and poor involvement of field and industry scientists and technicians
  • Cultural and language differences
  • EAAP is not established in all fields relevant to animal and livestock science (e.g. aquaculture, companion animals, behaviour science)
  • Lack of continuity between years to provide recommendations for successive EAAP conferences to ensure effective quality control.
  • Insufficient financial support for invited speakers and for young scientists
  • Lack of use of social media tools for communicating outputs.
  • Historical lack of transparency leading to poor public image
  • Small staff
  • Low visibility outside animal science community

Opportunities

  • The growing demand for animal products, simultaneous demand for improved sustainability and environmentally friendly type of production, creates a much stronger need for innovation and sound policy-making
  • Increase European sharing of modern tools for exploring animal genetics and physiology
  • Increase importance of networking also with modern tools and connection between science and industry and policy makers
  • Animal science is a science that requires international dissemination and cooperation
  • Participate with public and private policies based on sound science
  • Necessity to respond to public perceptions of animal production, particularly for welfare and pollution issues
  • Societal concerns about animal production
  • Contribute to the identification and design of interventions aiming at improving livestock’s sustainability.
  • Enhance the quality of presentations and journal articles
  • Utilization of new tools for dissemination and exchanges such as platforms to which EAAP can directly contribute and thereby access stakeholders with interest in livestock
  • Develop new scientific fields

Threats

  • Reduction of funds for public research and privatisation of research, in a context of growing demand for animal products
  • Lack of perception for the importance of agriculture themes
  • Too strong specialisation of specific animal science disciplines
  • Competition from other scientific associations for participation in meetings and workshops and publication in their journals
  • Reduction of voluntary scientists’ support

Main operations to be developed during the Strategic Plan

Governance and Finance

  • Develop and maintain through regular review, a robust and transparent EAAP strategy commensurate with the Mission and Vision statements
  • Update the Scientific Committee while maintaining the commitment of their members
  • Manage risks of economic problems related to membership
  • Structure the competency and capacity of the organization
  • Ensure resources for delivery of strategy
  • Improve the feedback and decision making from members and stakeholders
  • Include new ways of income through sponsoring and supporting agencies and industries

Technical Activities

  • Improve and strengthen dissemination methods and quality
    • Journals
    • Annual meeting
    • Electronic and Social tools
    • Websites
  • Maintain role for participating in international projects
  • Support animal science by facilitating cooperation opportunities and by supporting dissemination activities
  • Support developmental opportunities for young scientists by facilitating participation of young scientists to meetings and by offering scholarships
  • Enlarge scientific activities by including new disciplines within animal science
  • Improve the technical assistance of the secretariat to the scientific committee

Role and Representation

  • Strengthen the EAAP brand
  • Improve international communication and cooperation with other societies and industry.
  • Improve delivery of services for animal scientists (both individual and non-individual members)
  • Improve communication and interactions with the key stakeholders
  • Cooperate closely with groups having complementary vision
  • Develop press release activities
  • Continue to develop an open and transparent system of operating and provide evidence for this