'We need to work together on ambitious goals': Danish government backs collaborative food innovation hub

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Denmark wants to boost food research ©iStock/NicoElNino
Denmark wants to boost food research ©iStock/NicoElNino
The Danish government has promised state funding to establish a new innovation network, Danish Food Innovation.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science has pledged DKK12m to support the food ecosystem, which aims to create a “new global alliance”​ to find “solutions for the global food challenges”​ and support the growth of small and medium sized enterprises operating in the food sector.

Danish Food Innovation is being formed by three partners: the Danish Food Cluster, Agro Business Park and the Knowledge Centre for Food Innovation (VIFU). They want to make the growth layer of the Danish food cluster better equipped to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to face a global future, the partners said in a statement.
”The Danish food cluster is a global success story that has a great impact on Denmark’s economy, but the cluster is also pressured by global challenges. That is why we need to work together on ambitious goals. And with the strong partners and the extensive experience of the three organisations, we are more than ready for the job,"​ said chairman of the Danish Food Innovation board and VP at Chr. Hansen, Esben Laulund.

The innovation cluster will focus on collaboration, both domestically and internationally.
“We want to ensure a free flow of ideas, talent and knowledge, strengthen the collaboration nationally and internationally, and one of the means to accomplish our goals will be to create a global alliance covering the most innovative food hubs,”​ Laulund continued.

Focus: Challenges of the industry

Danish Food Innovation has identified six strategic challenges in collaboration with the food industry as part of a report, World Class Food Innovation Towards 2030​. These will form the focus areas for research and development.
“We look at the six challenges as opportunities, because through research and innovation-based solutions they can be turned into key business opportunities,”​ Laulund concluded.

The six focus areas: 

  1. Innovative products for the global consumer
  2. Food security 2.0
  3. Foods for a healthier life
  4. Efficient and agile food production 
  5. A faster and safer way to market through big data
  6. Supply of high-quality raw materials in a circular economy 

The Danish Food Innovation project will run to 2020.

The Danish Government is increasing its investment in research and innovation as part of its programme to support higher education in the country. 

In the Finance Bill, unveiled at the end of last month (30 August), the government said it will invest a total of DKK22.9bn in research next year, an increase of DKK160m over 2018. 

Announcing the move, Minister of Education and Research Tommy Ahlers said that the research funding would be used to address "major societal challenges"​. 

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