New COST Action on animal phenomics: “European Network on Livestock Phenomics – EU-LI-PHE”
by Jozef Polák
On September 27th, 2023, COST Association premises in Brussels hosted the first Management Committee (MC) meeting of the COST Action CA22112 “European Network on Livestock Phenomics (EU-LI-PHE)” (https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA22112/). This marked the beginning of the Action, which had been approved for a four-year funding period (2023-2027) by the COST Association in May this year.
EU-LI-PHE is focused on the topic of livestock phenomics, which represents the ensemble of methodologies and technologies for the acquisition, analysis and exploitation of high-dimensional phenotypic data (including both physical and molecular phenotypes) on target livestock species. The Action will foster the development, integration, organisation, and practical implementation of technologies, tools, methods, approaches, models, expertise, and resources useful to scan and interpret the animal phenome. Doing so will pave the way for novel scientific knowledge and applications in the livestock production sectors.
EU-LI-PHE is structured into five Working Groups (WG): Phenotyping technologies (WG1); Genome to phenome integration (WG2); Computational resources and methodologies for data analyses (WG3); Economic impact, regulations, policies, and society (WG4); Stakeholder engagement, communication, and dissemination (WG5) (https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA22112/).
The kickoff meeting stimulated a fruitful and successful discussion between Management Committee (MC) members representing this new community, which currently comprises 33 COST member countries, including 18 Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs). The MC members elected the Action Chair, Prof. Luca Fontanesi from the University of Bologna (Italy), and Action Vice Chair, Prof. Tomas Norton from the Katholieke Universitet Leuven (Belgium), while the Fondazione Alma Mater of the University of Bologna was selected as the Grant Holder Institution. Other elected leadership positions include the Working Group Leaders and Vice Leaders, as well as Science Communication Coordinator, Grant Awarding Coordinator and Training School Coordinator. Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra and Slovakia are represented in the management committee by prof. Ing. Radovan Kasarda, PhD. and doc. Ing. Nina Moravčíková, PhD. from Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources.
The Action has eight specific research coordination objectives and four fundamental capacity-building objectives that follow COST policies based on inclusiveness, with specific activities to involve Young Researchers and Innovators (YRI) and scientists from less research-intensive countries.
Interested scientists and stakeholder representatives from all countries in the world can contribute to the Working Group activities. The application form to become members of the Working Groups is available on the Action portal: https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA22112/ - go to the Working Groups and Membership page.