CSIRO invited to join EU food innovation consortium

Tuesday, 18 August, 2009

CSIRO has become the only organisation outside Europe to be invited to join HighTech Europe - a consortium of research agencies, industrial federations, universities and equipment manufacturers established to facilitate the uptake of innovative and emerging food processing technologies.

Comprising 22 organisations and coordinated by the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL), HighTech Europe is part of the EuroEU's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

Its aim is to develop protocols that enhance the availability of innovative technological knowledge to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food manufacturing industry to strengthen them for global competition.

“They see CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences (CFNS) as a valuable external collaborator,” said CSIRO’s HighTech Europe Project Leader, Dr Roman Buckow.

“CSIRO, and Food Science Australia before it, have gained wide international recognition for research on emerging food processing technologies such as ultra high pressure, cool plasma, pulsed electric field and ultrasonics.”

Over the next four years, CSIRO will contribute to the consortium’s work by undertaking an assessment of innovation transfer capabilities between research agencies and the Australian food industry.

“Seeking opportunities, tackling obstacles, assessing funding options and using lessons learnt from industry in Europe as well as Australia will be the basis for establishing new routes to innovation implementation,” said Buckow.

“Tools to be assessed and developed could include the ‘knowledge auction, implementation award and exhibition transfer’.”

Biotechnology, information processing and communication technologies are considered areas with high innovative power, and thus serve as promising adjuncts for future food processing technologies.

The relationships between these sources of innovation, basic food engineering operations (separations, structure formation, stabilisation and packaging) and the underlying scientific principles (physical, chemical and biological) will be assessed by the program.

Special attention will be paid to ethical, legal and social aspects of innovation and their impact on consumer perceptions of high-tech food processing.

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