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Food Research Exchange Programme between India and Europe

Final Report Summary - EASTWESTFOOD (Food Research Exchange Programme between India and Europe)

The aim of the EU-IRSES project EASTWESTFOOD was to strengthen the research capacity within food related sciences in India and Europe through an exchange programme between the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), Wageningen University (the Netherlands), Banaras Hindu University (India) and Anna University (India). Focus was on research training, both for early stage and experienced researchers. The particular fields of interest were healthy diets, dairy technology and metabolic engineering. A separate part of the project concentrated on how to foster entrepreneurship and innovation among food scientists so that research results, including new food products, become available to the general public of both India and Europe.

European researchers has benefited from EASTWESTFOOD through an increased knowledge of Indian food culture, indigenous Indian dairy products and plant-based Indian foods and food extracts that can be applied as a basis for identification, characterisation and development of new food ingredients and food products. Also, an increased knowledge of Indian culture and way-of-thinking may facilitate better collaboration between European and Indian researchers and institutions. The Indian partners from Banaras Hindu University were trained in designing experiments for and running high-tech dairy pilot plants where the main purposes were to find ways to increase shelf-life and health-benefits for traditional products. The researchers from Anna University adopted a very collaborative approach to gain input to specific ongoing research projects and they actively entered into joint PhD courses and workshops with a secondary goal to expand their network for future joint research initiatives.

In general, the training of early stage researchers will support the development of the food industry in Europe and India as highly competent candidates enter the job market. The trained researchers have an understanding of the Indian market and thus improved chances of contributing to successful marketing of existing and new European designed products. EASTWESTFOOD had a significant networking function in building the foundation for future research collaborations, and some of the involved researchers have already obtained grants from other sources to continue collaboration, or are in the process of doing so.

From a socioeconomy perspective, EASTWESTFOOD has contributed to improving the education of researchers, young and experienced, so that they will be able to develop food products that are healthier, with improved food safety and increased shelf-life for the Indian public. In Europe, the interaction with Indian researchers has improved the knowledge of traditional Indian foods, preparation techniques and culture, forming the basis for introduction of foods with an ‘Indian’ touch on the European market, either through processing techniques or the use of raw material. All of this is aiming to improve the quality of life for consumers when the new or improved products reach the market as more nutritious and safer, or with a different appeal than existing products. The courses and workshops in EASTWESTFOOD have contributed to making both European and Indian researchers more aware of health related issues arising from intake of different foods, and augmented the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship among young researchers thus increasing the probability that scientific achievements in fact becomes a benefit for the general public.

More information about EASTWESTFOOD can be obtained from the scientific coordinator Richard Ipsen, University of Copenhagen at ri@food.ku.dk.
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