Created in 2008, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an EU initiative designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.
It maintains the idea that “through diversity there is strength”, and brings together universities, research labs and companies to form pan-European partnerships.
Within this there are six different Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), of which the ‘EIT Food’ is one.
This sustainability-focused consortium of 50 partners from 13 countries will see the partners invest close to €1.2bn over the next seven years, and this will be matched by up to €0.4bn from the EIT itself.
350 new start-ups in seven years
Within that seven year timeframe, EIT Food aims to support the creation of 350 start-ups and train over 10,000 graduates from EIT-approved programmes.
It also hopes 290 new or improved products, services and processes will be developed by 2024 as a result and that greenhouse gas emissions in the European food system will be reduced by 40% by 2030.
Industry partners include Algatech, Puratos, Roquette, Döhler, DSM, PepsiCo and Nestlé’s research arm Nestec.
Algatech, the only pure algae player in the consortium, will work within EIT Food to develop new food sources from microalgae.
Algatech CEO Hagai Stadler said of the partnership: “We totally agree with the open funding pre-competitive investment concept, which will de-risk research via collaboration and leverage both commercial and academic capabilities for a common purpose.”
Meanwhile Peter van Bladeren, vice president for Nestec and global head regulatory and scientific affairs for Nestlé, commented: “EIT Food is committed to create the future curriculum for students and food professionals as a driving force for innovation and business creation; it will give the food manufacturing sector, which accounts for 44 million jobs in Europe, a unique competitive edge."