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Improving the Scientific and Technological Research Capacity of Food Institute on Safety and Technology of Food Packaging

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SAFETECHNOPACK (Improving the Scientific and Technological Research Capacity of Food Institute on Safety and Technology of Food Packaging)

Project context and objectives:

The main objective of SAFETECHNOPACK project is to improve the scientific and technological (S&T) research capacity of Tubitak mrc Food Institute (FI) in food packaging technologies. Specifically, it is aspired to improve the research capacity in chemical contamination from the food contact materials, and developing new food packaging materials using nanotechnology and active packaging technologies. In order to accomplish the main objective, FI has established following specific objectives;
(i) upgrading S&T equipment infrastructure,
(ii) recruitment of researchers,
(iii) networking and co-operative activities,
(iv) improvement S&T experience and knowledge of researchers,
(v) information and dissemination activities.

Project results:

Since the beginning of the project several activities were undertaken in order to fulfil the project objectives. As a first step, Advisory Board meeting was organized in order to benefit from the experience and guidance of board members for defining the roadmap of the project. Three Advisory Board meetings were performed in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The project progress and scientific achievements were shared with Advisory Board members. Advisory Board recommendations were considered during the whole project activities. Recommendations were very helpful for selecting the lab equipment and the most suitable research institutes for short term and long term training programmes. Under the specific objectives, the new equipment was purchased and two researchers were recruited. The laboratory became more specific for food packaging analysis and R&D projects. In order to enlarge our network, brokerage events were organised. 3 brokerage events were performed in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Istanbul. These brokerage events were excellent platforms to present the SAFETECHNOPACK, our activities and our capacity to Turkish food and packaging industry. Regarding networking activities, some technical visits were performed to centres in Member States. JRC-Ispra, VTT in Finland, ESIEC in France, Fraunhofer in Germany and ICTP-CNR in Italy were visited. Face to face meeting were done and possible co-operations were discussed. A new bilateral proposal has been prepared and submitted together with CNR-ICTP. Researchers participated in several conferences and congresses; they presented the results of the R&D projects and established the new networks to cooperate in R&D proposals. Researchers participated to the most prestigious international food packaging fairs, Anuga 2009 and Emballage 2010, by hiring a booth where they presented the SAFETECHNOPACK and other project activities to the visitors. 3 different info days on different topics were organised in packaging sector meetings, fair meetings and the meetings of chamber of commerce. Especially, packaging and food safety relations were discussed in these meetings, necessary information was given to the public. As a final activity of project, International Food Packaging Conference was organised for three days in 2011, in Istanbul. Keynote speakers were invited and new packaging technologies were highlighted. Participants came from all around the world and researchers had opportunity to present their scientific studies and to establish new networks.

Regarding training activities, two recruited researchers completed eight months training on intelligent packaging, nanotechnology applications and safety of food contact materials in Finland, UK and Italy. Researchers were also participated in short term trainings to update and develop their knowledge. Regarding the exchange of know-how, knowledge and experience on nanotechnology, Dr. Maurizio Avella from CNR-ICTP, Italy, was invited to the Institute.

The web page and the logo of the project were designed at the beginning of the project. The project web-site has been updated and the web site includes the information about project activities. English-Turkish leaflets for the presentation of SAFETECHNOPACK and our activities were prepared. These were distributed at different occasions, such as at info days, fairs, brokerage events. In the context of food cluster activities, SWOT and SOR analysis were done with partners from both industry and academia for the Marmara Region in Turkey. Researchers participated in different Food Cluster meetings and improve their knowledge on clustering and networking.

Potential impact:

At the end of this reporting period, the impact of SAFETECHNOPACK project on institutes’ research capabilities was huge. All the new analyses and R&D works have been performed by the new equipment and the trained researchers, are complementary for each other and these enable us to have new capabilities to get new projects from the Turkish companies and cooperate in new R&D projects. Packaging Group at the Institute collaborate some national and international institutes, resulted in preparation and submission of new project proposals. Regarding to consultancy, exchange of know-how knowledge and experience on nanotechnology was very helpful to define the roadmap of nanotechnology applications in future by using the lab infrastructure. All visitors and stakeholders of the Institute impressed very much from the SAFETECHNOPACK and newly established food contact materials and packaging laboratory. We emphasized always our laboratory as a potential Turkish partner on food packaging in KBBE proposals or any national and international R&D projects.

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