Food for the Future

Skills and New Business models in the food sector of the future

By Sharon Janmaat > 21 Sep, 2016

Albeda, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Greenport, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Lentiz Educational Group, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Wellantcollege and Zadkine will collaborate with the city and businesses for the future of food education in the Rotterdam region. This collaboration will ensure that education in the region is attuned to the rapidly changing employment needs of the food industry. This ambitious collaboration is unique in the Netherlands and Europe.

On 21 September 2016, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, representative of the province Zuid-Holland and representatives of the educational institutions ratified the signing of the partnership. In this programme the participants follow a research agenda called Food for the Future. The agenda was requested by the City of Rotterdam and drawn up by Albeda, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Greenport, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Lentiz Educational Group, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Wellantcollege and Zadkine. The future-oriented research will examine the economic and social challenges faced by the food cluster in our region.

New business models

An essential theme in the research agenda is creating food entrepreneurship that uses innovative technologies. How can you best stimulate this in the region? Besides the current research agenda, the city has also drawn up an implementation plan. It examines how our region can keep growing successfully towards an innovative area where businesses develop new and sustainable business models to further economic growth and social objectives.

The first research results of Food for the Future are expected in May 2017.

Lecture ‘Food for the Future’

To commemorate the signing, 150 students attended the first ‘Food for the Future’ lecture. They were invited to become part of the food industry to make the difference in global food issues. The food industry offers future students and employees vast career opportunities in an international setting. Linking entrepreneurs to students for internships and thesis assignments was also a priority during the lecture.

Innovation Power

Some of the skills the industry is requiring at the moment, didn’t exist five years ago. So food related businesses can make excellent use of the design and innovation power of students. In return those students can prepare themselves best for the ‘real world’ by working in it.

Together we are looking at the strategical value and the economic future perspective of the food cluster, the development of collaborations between businesses and a better insight into food supply as an ecosystem. Through Food for the Future we will also learn more about individualizing food and other food factors such as health, happiness and social cohesion over the next few years.

Necessity

By 2050, 9 billion people will have to be fed, of which 80% will be living in cities. But new technological developments and the wish to produce more sustainably are also influencing the employment needs of businesses in the food industry. So, much work to be done! With these new collaborations the educational institutions can prepare themselves for the future by making sure education fits the needs of the Rotterdam Food Cluster. Because the food cluster encompasses more than 8,000 businesses throughout the whole chain with 43,000 jobs and a combined turnover of € 24.5 billion.

“The food industry is already one of the most relevant economic industries of the Rotterdam region with jobs for all levels of education. Regional (professional)education needs to have financial strength, room to experiment, transition knowledge and a network within education, business and the government. This collaboration adds to maintaining and stimulating economic growth along with jobs.”

Maarten Struijvenberg, alderman Employment and Economics, City of Rotterdam

Notice

Would you like your business to cooperate with the research? Do you have an opportunity for a student to help your business further during an internship? Or are you working on a case for which you’d like a scientific sounding board?
Contact Sharon Janmaat for further information.