Cambridge to play key role in £340m EU food innovation project

fruit-and-veg-marketThe University of Cambridge has announced its involvement in a €400 million EU innovation programme to improve the sustainability of our food system. This project hopes to change the way we eat, grow and distribute our food.

The project, called EIT food, aims to halve the amount of food waste in Europe within a decade, and minimise ill health caused by diet by 2030. It has received €400 million of EU research funding, along with 1.2 billion euros of funding from industry and other sources over seven years.

The project is funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and will have a regional headquarters at the University of Reading. The University of Cambridge will be working alongside academic centres such as Matís, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Reading, and businesses including ABP Food Group, PepsiCo and The Nielsen Company. These partners will work together to coordinate innovation, develop cutting edge education programmes and support local start-ups.

EIT Food plans to set up four programmes to target broad societal challenges, which include:

  • personalised healthy food
  • the digitalization of the food system
  • consumer-driven supply chain development, customised products and new technology in farming, processing and retail
  • resource-efficient processes – making food more sustainable by eliminating waste and recycling by-products throughout the food chain.

The project will train thousands of students and food professionals via workshops, summer schools and online educational programmes. It will organise international entrepreneurship programmes for students and develop an interdisciplinary Food System MSc for graduates.

Professor Howard Griffiths, co-chair of the Global Food Security Strategic Research Initiative at the University of Cambridge and leader of Cambridge’s involvement in the EIT, said: “Sustainability is a top-level agenda which is engaging both global multinational food producers and academics. Our joint goal is in making the entire food system more resilient in the context of a changing climate, and improving health and nutrition for people across the world.”

Adapted from an article by the University of Cambridge.