Project coordination and management

The STOC-FREE project will be coordinated by UU, the Netherlands. A project team will be formed that consist of all partners of the consortium together with the beneficiary’s staff member (from UU) that is responsible for administrative and financial issues related to the project. As part of the project coordination and management, the coordinator will be the primary contact person for all correspondence between the consortium and EFSA. The coordinator will plan both the start, interim and final meeting with EFSA, will initiate and coordinate the annual face-to-face meetings and will coordinate the bi-monthly teleconferences that will be conducted throughout the duration of this project. The project coordinator will be in close contact with the WP leaders, will control the project planning and will ensure that the deliverables are finalised in time. In addition, all administrative and financial work that is foreseen in this project will be conducted as part of this WP.

WP5: Highlights of year 1

In December 2016, this project was awarded a grant by EFSA under reference GA/EFSA/AFSCO/2016/01-03. The STOC free project started on 10 March 2017 with a kick-off meeting at EFSAs premises in Parma, Italy.

The first face-to-face meeting with the whole consortium was on 29 March 2017 at the yearly SVEPM conference in Inverness, Scotland. During this meeting the milestones and deliverables of the work packages were discussed, a brainstorming session about the STOC free framework was held and important dates throughout the project were set.

On 3 July 2017, PhD student Annika van Roon started working on the project. In her research, which is mainly focused on development of the STOC free data tool (WP2), she will develop methods for standardized data collection on cattle disease control programmes and test the generic output-based framework developed by the French partners to determine confidence in freedom from infection. On 5 September 2017, PhD student Mathilde Mercat started to work on the project. Her work is mainly focussed on WP1. In this WP, the STOC free model will be developed. Close collaboration between the Dutch and French students is foreseen in the project as the French student will develop the methodology for the output-based, quantitative comparison of control programmes and the Dutch PhD will develop the means to uniformly gather the input for this model.

A face-to-face meeting was held with the Dutch, French and Irish partners in Utrecht, the Netherlands on 21 September 2017. This meeting was intended as an introduction between the Dutch and French PhD students and their supervisors and to discuss future collaboration between the students and to have a content related discussion on WP1 (STOC free model) and WP2 (STOC free data). During the meeting, the students presented their work and the next steps to take were discussed.

The yearly face-to-face meeting with the whole consortium was held on 13-14 November in Amsterdam. During this meeting, the final version of the RISKSUR tool + narratives was discussed. Furthermore, the first draft of the conceptual framework and possible statistical methods were presented by the French partners.

In year 1, an initiative was started with all partners for development of an extended collaboration agreement that included important aspects such as confidentiality and rights to publish.

Besides the face-to-face meetings, monthly Skype meetings have been held to discuss the progress of the project.

WP5: Highlights of year 2

During the second year, monthly Skype meetings were held to discuss the challenges and to monitor the progress of the project. Face-to-face meetings were held in June 2018 (between PhD students), October 2018 (whole consortium), February 2019 (between PhD supervisory groups) and 26 March (whole consortium). The first annual newsletter was delivered in September 2018 in which the progress of the first year was described. An interim report including the financial statement was produced in March 2019. A proposal was submitted and granted to receive a PhD travel grant called the Van Gogh scholarship which provides a limited amount of travel money for both PhD students to visit and work with each other.

Additionally, in 2018 the COST Action project SOUND control, which is closely related to STOC free, received a grant and started in October 2018 (, COST Action CA17110). The COST action aims to coordinate, stimulate and assist initiatives to explore and implement a widely adaptable output-based framework. The project is in support of STOC free and provides an excellent platform to maximise the probability that the STOC free model will be implemented and used by a wide range of stakeholders. In the SOUND control network, more than 100 experts originating from 30 European countries participate in support of output-based surveillance.

WP5 highlights in year 3 and 4

Due to the SARS-COV-2 pandemic no more physical meetings could be organised in 2020 and 2021. However, in addition to our monthly online meetings we also met online for our yearly project meetings in October 2020 and 2021 (may be add the attached photo on the website). Much effort was spent on finalising the STOC free model and testing it for different scenarios in different regions. The final technical report was submitted to EFSA at the end of November 2021 and is now published on . Both PhD students in the project, Mathilde Mercat and Annika van Roon, defended their thesis and received their doctorate degree. The STOC free model is going to be applied to other infectious cattle diseases within the COST action SOUND control.

Deliverables of all years can be found here