The University is keen to get a food KIC
19 April 2012
"A food KIC would do as much for food science as ESS will do for materials research”, explains Bengt Streijffert, who is working on Lund University’s KIC investment. The first step is to convince the EU to choose food as a focus area. Then continued efforts will be dedicated to getting a centre in Lund.
KIC stands for Knowledge Innovation Community and is a partnership between higher education and industry. There are already three KIC centres, within areas such as energy, climate and information technology. The budget for a KIC is usually SEK 1-1.5 billion per year – so large sums of money are at stake.
Now the time has come for the EU to choose another focus area for future KICs, so LU is working within a European consortium, known as FoodBEST, to put food on the agenda. The main argument is that an investment in food innovation will increase European competitiveness.
Three ways to achieve this are through helping the population towards a more healthy lifestyle, decreasing the pressure on the world’s natural resources and paying attention to the need for food security.
“A future food KIC would cover the whole value chain – from earth to table. It would generate innovation programmes to make the most of industry-driven business opportunities within these challenging areas. It would create high-profile innovation projects within a broad number of areas concerning everything from production and packaging to design and health”, says the Vice-Chancellor’s advisor Bengt Streijffert, who is responsible for LU’s investment in a KIC together with Gunilla Jönson, Professor Emerita in Packaging Logistics and former Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.
Text: Anders Frick
KICs are excellence-driven European partnerships and the main instrument of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an EU body set up to increase sustainable growth and competitiveness in Europe.
KICs are to generate new innovations and models of innovation for the whole of Europe to follow. A KIC should give extra power to the strongest players and to focus on challenge-driven innovation.
KICs are to facilitate the transition from idea to product, from lab to market and from student to entrepreneur.
Education and training are strongly emphasised within a KIC. Education and entrepreneurship are to be tightly linked to research and industry within a KIC consortium.