The University of Helsinki and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have been successful in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology's (EIT) funding applications for Knowledge Innovation Communities (KIC). The Finnish organisations are a part of a new consortium, comprising approximately 50 European institutions working to find solutions to the challenges of food production, which has been granted funding totalling approximately €400 million.
Sustainable and safe food production is a significant future challenge, as the UN has estimated that the demand for food will increase 70% by 2050. The funding was received by the EIT Food consortium, which is working to find solutions for sustainable and safe food production in cooperation with companies, universities and research organisations from 13 different countries.
Participating Finnish organisations are the University of Helsinki, VTT and Valio. Over the next seven years, the consortium intends to multiply its funding through private and public investments. The consortium's goals include boosting the development of 350 start-ups and producing 290 innovations in products, services and processes.
At the University of Helsinki, the preparations have been led by the Department of Food and Environmental Sciences. Keijo Hämäläinen, vice-rector in charge of research and innovation, is excited to list the opportunities afforded by this cooperation.
"EIT funding and its cooperation networks offer us new contacts and channels which will help us put research into practice. As a multidisciplinary university, we have a great deal to offer the consortium, particularly in the field of food science, innovations and education."
VTT has participated in two previous KIC communities. According to Research Professor Kaisa Poutanen, who prepared the project at VTT, these communities which combine the public and private sectors have been found to be an excellent way to network and to promote the competitiveness of the field.
"In addition to the global challenges, the food business has great development potential in individual nutrition and digital services. Multidisciplinary cooperation in the new consortium provides a good foundation for this."
Support in preparing the application was received from the Finnish Food Research Foundation, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional council, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
EIT selects winning innovation partnership in Food