NIC focuses on three areas of research

Wednesday 29 Oct 14


Egon Bech Hansen
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 62 03

NIC Research Events 2014/15

October 2014:
Posting and sending invitations to participate in “European Food and Feed Ingredients Industrial Doctorate”

November-December 2014: 
Phone conferences and meetings to define projects and partners in the doctorate programs

February 2015:
NIC Workshop on “Research areas leading to Transformational Innovation in Food and Feed Ingredients”

NICs purpose is to stimulate research and improve conditions for the full spectrum of research disciplines relevant for the ingredients sector. Therefore, NIC has now with the partners started to find development opportunities in three main areas of research

An important purpose of the National Ingredients Center, NIC, is to stimulate research for the benefit of food and feed ingredients. We will do that by establishing research projects through selecting fertile research areas, identifying project partners, and scouting for funding opportunities. Furthermore NIC will work to make the framework conditions for ingredients research in Denmark more favorable.

“The ingredients sector is innovative and therefore heavily dependent on scientific advancements. The science needed spans from fundamental natural science, over advanced technical science to specific product development. In NIC we will work to improve conditions for the full spectrum of research disciplines relevant for the ingredients sector”, says professor Egon Bech Hansen, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. 

NIC takes an active role
Applied technical science will generally benefit from close collaboration between academic and industrial researchers.

“NIC will therefore take an active role in establishing such collaborative projects within the field of basic and applied technical science in food and feed ingredients”, says Egon Bech Hansen.

The framework conditions are important for basic science, technical research and product development and NIC will work for the improvement of those conditions. It is particularly important that relevant funding schemes are in place for the full spectrum of ingredients research, and it is important to avoid unintentional gaps in the strategic research funding. 

Focus on three areas of research
NIC will establish research projects and research consortiums within basic and applied technical research. The research areas will be the ones expected to provide transformational innovations to the ingredients sector.

Fields of change appear mainly through three dimensions: 

Science and technology push 

  • The intestinal microbiome is currently being characterized in depth using metagenomics and other –omics technologies.
  • Nano technology has changed IT and material science and is also having an impact on food and feed.

Industry and market pull

  • Health is in many different ways a driver for the development of new ingredients.
  • Environment, climate change and sustainability are factors also leading to the demand for novel food and feed solutions.
  • Food waste reduction is now not only good economy but also a sustainability issue and thereby recreating an emphasis on protection and preservation of food and feed.
  • Food functionality is a discipline of eternal importance for the development of ingredients.
  • Unit operation innovation is similarly continuously demanded in order to improve production economy or product characteristics. 

 Regulatory frameworks

  • GMO status and detection is relevant for recombinant products, but also for the traditional and the organic products.
  • Nano particle documentation is currently becoming a new regulatory field for the whole industry to be aware of.
  • Health claims are in Europe regulated by EFSA.
  • Emerging risks are continuously being monitored and are likely to lead to emerging regulations. 

“NIC will detect developments in those three dimensions through our participants and we will transform the information into action through various fora in NIC, i.e. management, secretariat, steering committee, and ad hoc workshops”, says Egon Bech Hansen.

NIC will be organizing workshops to identify emerging areas of rapid change and we will arrange workshops focusing on individual areas.

NIC research programs
Research programs will always need to be financed. The financing can in the simplest form be that each partner covers own cost. This model will only be sufficient if the research is completely within the current areas of expertise and if all partners will have an immediate benefit of the collaborative project. In cases where the industrial partners can build competitive advantages the financing will typically come from the companies. For projects creating enabling technologies, research capacities or other benefits of common nature, the relevant funding model will be public funding programs with cofounding from industry.

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Focus on three areas of research

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19 MARCH 2018