With research institutes and universities such as Fraunhofer, the University of Cambridge, and the Polish Academy of Sciences, but also with partners from the industry, the best scientists, students, and entrepreneurs from the food industry were enlisted for EIT Food. FoodConnects already counts among its ranks global companies such as PepsiCo, Siemens, Robert Bosch and Nestlé in a new European alliance.
"Through the collaboration of EIT Food with the top minds in the food industry, we are heralding a paradigm shift along the entire value creation chain, from European agricultural production to food and foodstuffs manufacturing, which is set to be organized in a manner that is increasingly sustainable and digital", says Professor Thomas Hofmann, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the TUM and head of the Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science. Hofmann was the main coordinator and applicant of FoodConnects, and will now establish the corresponding Food Innovation Hub for Germany and the Netherlands at the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan (WZW) — the TUM's campus in Freising, Germany. This would make it the first co-location center of its kind in Bavaria.
"Within seven years, 350 start-ups will be funded, 10,000 graduates trained, and 290 new or improved products brought to market with the help of the results and findings from the EIT Food consortium", explains Hofmann, speaking about the large-scale endeavor. The winner FoodConnects was selected based on a Europe-wide bid for tenders, which began in January 2016. The groups of applicants underwent a detailed evaluation process which was presided over by independent external consultants and the EIT board.
"The crucial aspect that made us decide on FoodConnects was its ability to spark the necessary innovation which is essential in today's society. The new EIT Food comprises excellent partners which will generate growth and create new jobs, which was the highest priority for Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission", says Peter Olesen from the EIT board in Budapest.
Over 400 million in EU funding for EIT Food
EIT Food will receive four million euros immediately as start-up funding. If the goals are achieved, the EIT funding pool will receive a total of 400 million euros. "It is the largest joint project the science hub of Freising has ever seen", says Professor Wolfgang Herrmann, the president of the TUM. "Furthermore, the fact that the Technical University of Munich, the coordinator of EIT Food, was able to prevail in the face of stiff competition, such as from Wageningen, is further proof of the validity and success of our long-standing policy of reform in Weihenstephan."
In addition TUM is core partner of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) "EIT Health". Here the international headquarters of the project could be established in Munich. The TU Munich is also represented in the KICs "EIT Digital" and "Climate KIC". Likewise, the TUM is involved in both EU flagship projects, the "Human Brain Project", where it coordinates the "Neurorobotics Platform" and in the "Graphene Flagship Project", which includes researchers of the Walter Schottky Institute.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofmann
Technical University of Munich
Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science
Tel: +49/89/289 22201