The IFOOD4 is an academic network project aimed:
1. To innovate the education and training of Higher education Food Science and Technology (FS&T) students;
2. To implement personal skills of the future generation of FS&T professionals;
3. To create a framework offering a lecturing qualification for university teaching staff on FS&T.
Overall, the project will foster innovative developments, enhance the quality of Food Studies and improve the international attractiveness of EU Higher Education by:
• A virtual toolbox including information, databases, teaching materials and guidelines to upgrade courses in FS&T.
• A virtual platform and a newsletter for PhD studies in FS&T disciplines;
• Development of a lecturing qualification framework for teachers in FS&T disciplines and a pilot training school;
• Innovative teaching materials including e-learning tools, an educational serious game and two books on advanced Food Studies topics;
• An international conference (3rd ISEKI_Food conference).
Faculty of biosciences and technologies for food, agriculture and environment, University of Teramo - ItalyLead applicant
Faculty of biosciences and technologies for food, agriculture and environment is to enhance quality, relevance and utilization of research in organic food and farming and to establish a joint pool for financing transnational research in organic food and farming. The background for this objective is that the development effort in organic food and farming is characterized by small research communities, often scattered and fragmented both geographically and institutionally. This generates a need for gathering the dispersed expertise into a critical mass, to maintain and increase the competitive quality and relevance of research.
QUALIFORM S.A.S. DI DI GIANDOMENICO D. & C. - ItalyInitiative partner
Consulenza e servizi alle imprese nel campo dei sistemi di gestione qualità, ambiente, responsabilità sociale, agroalimentare, direzionale, etc. Organismo di Formazione Accreditato, formazione continua, superiore, professionalizzante.
University of Milan Department of Food Environmental and Nutritional Science - ItalyInitiative partner
Politecnic Institute of Coimbra - PortugalInitiative partner
Politechnic University of Valencia - SpainInitiative partner
Catholic University of Portugual - PortugalInitiative partner
ISEKI-Food Association - AustriaInitiative partner
University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences - AustriaInitiative partner
Food Science and Technology EDUCATION Excellence for aN INNOVATIVE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN AND A Sustainable Bioeconomy
Science and technology development accelerates and main global issues need to be addressed. New knowledge needs and tools for coping with progress and future needs is, thus, required and new teaching and learning models to gain knowledge and continuously evolve skills has to be implemented. Education in FS&T has also to interact with all the stakeholders of the food supply chain to be able to promptly tackle knowledge and skill needs.
The IFOOD4 project is aimed to foster innovative developments, enhance the quality of Food Studies. Representatives of academia, research and industry are involved in a network to develop a activities (www.iseki-food4.eu) aimed to modernise and update Food studies, including a virtual toolbox to upgrade FS&T courses, a virtual platform for PhD studies, a lecturing qualification framework for teachers and innovative teaching materials (e-learning tools, an educational serious game (“ the fish can’s crime”) and two books on advanced Food Studies topics.
Education is main pillar to tackle sustainability and innovation of the food chain (e.g. “knowledge triangle” model). In the agro-food sector it is strictly connected with research and the food production chain (primary production, food industry). Education in the agro-food sector is needed to train workers, practitioners, scientists, researchers and professionals that tackle the main issues of the food supply chain (e.g. safety, security, quality).The project develops an international framework (27 EU countries and 20 no-EU countries plus 52 associated partners from all over the world), where stakeholders share best practices in food education, its innovation and upgrade to provide to the current and future generation of food scientists and technologists the proper scientific, technical and personal skills and to lead food production with a responsible and ethical approach. The IFOOD4 network project involves partners from universities, food industries associations, research centers.
Besides the constructive and positive networking effect, tangible results are
• A virtual toolbox with information, databases, teaching materials and guidelines to upgrade courses in FS&T to meet the agro-food job market https://www.iseki-food.net/training/moduledesign .
• A virtual platform and a newsletter for PhD studies in FS&T disciplines to favour networking, research interactions and entrepeneurship (https://www.iseki-food.net/phd) ;
• A lecturing qualification framework for teachers in FS&T disciplines and a pilot training school to improve the educational skills;
• Innovative teaching materials including e-learning tools, an educational serious game (“ the fish can’s crime”, https://www.iseki-food.net/students/fishcanninggame ) and two books on advanced Food Studies topics (ongoing);
• An international conference (3rd ISEKI_Food conference), a forum where representatives of the main stakeholders of the food chain met and discuss (http://www.isekiconferences.com/athens2014/).
Research and science are continuously providing new knowledge that needs to be properly transfer to the future generation of practitioners and professionals of the food chain. The economic crisis, globalisation, technological changes and environmental impact of the food production along with incoming concerns like the food security and public health are all contributing to rapid change in the labour markets and new knowledge and skills required to the employees at all levels (technical, management) need to be improved to guarantee food for all.
The project is addressed to develop various activities aimed to modernize education and training on food studies especially at Higher education level, with main impact to all stakeholders of the food supply chain including academia, research and industry, governmental and non-governmental associations, and, at last, to the wider community of consumers.
The IFOOD4 project network supported by the LLP Erasmus programme (University of Teramo: coordinator) involves currently 89 partners from 27 EU countries and 3 non-European (IL, BR, US) countries. In addition 52 associated partners (not eligible for financial support) from 40 non-European countries of the five continents and 10 EU countries that gives to the network an international dimension.
The presence of no-EU countries partners confirms the interest to develop common strategies and activities on Food science and technology education and training with modern approaches and methodologies at an international level.
The partners are Higher education institutions (universities), research centers, food industries associations (including FooddrinkEurope), agriculture, fish and food associations (IFA, EFFOST) and representatives of the food technological platform.
The project network is made of partners from all over the world. Main difficulties include the need to keep active all the participants and involve all of them in activities they are interested to. The limited financial support limited the face-to-face meetings that are determinant to favour the networking and development of the project activities and develop further ideas of future collaborations in the educational and training sector.
The development of the activities at a virtual level (webinars, e-learing courses, the pilot training school for teachers with a blended methodology –only the final assessment onsite, e-mailing dissemination) helped partly to face this issue. The ISEKI-Food association is contributing to disseminate all the outcomes via a distribution list of over 9000 contacts.
In order to involve all the stakeholders of the food supply chain the 3rd ISEKI_Food conference was successfully organized as a main forum of all representatives of the various sectors.
IFOOD4 project network is addressed to innovate higher education training and education by improving and modernizing Food studies with new skills and knowledge to tackle the main food supply chain issues as well as the societal ones. The project has been developing innovative tool including e-learning modules and books (within the ISEKI_Food-Springer book series) to provide up-to-date support materials to trainers and educators to teach the new approaches to food production, processing and manufacturing taking into-account also the environmental aspects. A series of webinars on use, recovery and valorization of food by-products has been organized and still ongoing, with free access and open to all interested parties.
The IFOOD4 project is the 4th in the ISEKI_Food network projects supported by the Lifelong Learning Erasmus programme and edition by edition, the network has widened its role and interest in the food sector not only to Higher education institutions but also to food industry and research organization. This could be the result of the numerous and diverse activities carried out to favour the interaction among the various stakeholders of the food supply chain within a framework open to all the interested parties willing to contribute to improve the quality of the education in FS&T studies and thus a knowledge-based society.
The ISEKI-Food association (IFA) created in 2005 to sustain the outcomes of the project is progressively increasing the number of members as individuals (e.g. scientists, educators, industry representatives) and institutional ones from EU and no-EU countries. IFA will continue to plan, develop and organize activities beyond the IFOOD4 project end.
The IFOOD4 project has set and developed:
- a quarterly e-newsletter that is sent to over 9000 contacts allover the world (https://www.iseki-food.net/general/news/newsletters) . Besides the English version, French, Romanian, Hungarian version are available. In the newsletter, news about the project activities as well as other information that may be of interest to the potential readers of the food sector are included (eg.training activities, events, conferences, availability of grants, project calls)
- An open-source, peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Food Studies (http://www.iseki-food-ejournal.com/ojs/index.php/e-journal) has been created in 2011 and implemented within the IFOOD4 project to disseminate researches, opinions and activities in research, education and industry production and to favour the knowledge exchange among all the stakeholders of the food supply chain.