New FoodConnects partnership to tackle global food challenges

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/pichet_w
© iStock/pichet_w
FoodConnects, a consortium of 50 industry and academic institutions from 13 different countries, has been selected by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to tackle global food challenges through a €400m innovation partnership.

Food industry members that were selected include PepsiCo, DSM, Nestle, Valio and Roquette.

Academic institutions include the University of Cambridge, the Polish Academy of Science and Queen’s University of Belfast. 

The competition opened in January this year with winners selected by external experts and the EIT governing board.

Specific projects will be decided through calls which will open early next year, but the focus will be on a wide range of farm-to-fork issues affecting the food industry from protein sources, improving crop yields, reducing food waste and tackling undernutrition through fortified foods.

The consortium will offer the chance for all members to interact and collaborate together at some point during its seven year duration, a spokesperson for Queen’s University Belfast told us.

“Queen’s University Belfast can be involved with all members at some point in some capacity. The EIT Food concept is more than funding innovative project; [it] is involved with education, business creation, consumer interaction, communication all of which Queen’s University can be involved in.”

Efforts will now focus on setting up the partnerships, using a start-up grant €4m. If the partnerships achieve the expected results, they could receive funding of around €400m from EIT over the coming years, boosted by additional funding that is expected to come from both public and private investors.

Swiss flavour and fragrance house Givaudan was also selected. Its head of global science and technology, Chris Thoen, said: “The best way to be prepared for the future is to actually create it. We believe EIT Food Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) is a great consortium and network to define and enable the future of food. Givaudan shares the EIT food philosophy of fostering innovation and putting the consumer at the centre of everything we do.

The EIT was established in 2008 as Europe’s version of MIT. Its aim is to bring together higher education institutions, research labs and companies in KICs.

The 50 winners and members of FoodConnects are:

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