Sélim El Amouri, communications spokesperson for the French company, told FeedNavigator the primary goal of the initiative is to “identify relevant projects in order to build and support scientific partnerships. Some of our products are the result of such collaboration between us, universities and industry.”
The award, which includes a €5,000 prize, is open to young scientists from around the world.
The firm says it is on the lookout for recent dissertations addressing the functional properties of plants, plant extracts or products derived from plants, and their application in animal health or livestock production.
Although there is a long history of use in relation to plant extracts and animal health, there has been limited academic research on the subject, said El Amouri
“Plant characterization studies are scarce due, firstly, to the cost of such investigations and, secondly, due to the confidentiality issue, with some scientists preferring their research outcomes remain under wraps,” said the Nor-Feed representative.
However, he notes the increase in migration away from the use antibiotics in recent years would seem to have spurred on academic exploration of the benefits of natural alternatives for animal nutrition, with plant products benefiting from this.
In terms of which countries are setting the pace in terms of the science, El Amouri said no one market is taking the lead on the discipline. “It is quite fragmented. Europe is quite present but also emerging countries such as India,” said El Amouri.
Nor-Feed Sud estimates that scientific publications related to plant extracts and animal health reach 1% in France in the last few years, based on a review of the titles of French veterinary theses.
“When we analyzed research done using the Google Scholar tool, we obtained around 17,000 results on ‘plant extracts and animal health’ as opposed to 54,000 for ‘antibiotics’ and 156,000 for ‘enzymes’,” said El Amouri.
The Nor-Feed award will be granted in September 2015 following selection by a jury.
“Pierre Chicoteau, DVM and Nor-Feed’s co-Ceo, will lead the jury and we are also currently looking to recruit two independent academics from foreign or emerging countries to the panel – we would expect to have three person jury the first year, and maybe a five member one the following years,” said El Amouri.
To participate, candidates must submit a summary of their thesis by 30 June 2015. Entry details can be found here.