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Innovative Food Product Development Cycle: Frame for Stepping Up Research Excellence of FINS - FOODstars

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FOODstars (Innovative Food Product Development Cycle: Frame for Stepping Up Research Excellence of FINS - FOODstars)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2018-11-30

The main goal of FOODstars project can be summarized as creating conditions for implementation of open innovation practices in new food product development, which is recognized as a key activity of the global food industry. Throughout the project the knowledge on every step in innovative food product development has been upgraded, by integrating various skills and expertise and by exploitation the ideas and resources from different actors – as assumed in OPEN INNOVATION. FOODstars has firstly involved researchers from diverse fields of food science and technology and from different research institutions to promote a multidisciplinary approach to research in the process of new food product development. By promoting and fostering the quadruple helix network of communication between academia, consumers, food industry and policy makers, FOODstars strengthened the ability to adapt to new processing technologies and encouraged the continued innovation in food science and technology, and hence acted as a driver of industry revitalisation and economic development. In doing so the necessary confidence and trust between all actors - academia, consumers, industry and policy makers, as well as a long-term partnership in the innovation process has been established, and research and innovation topics of common interest identified.
"FOODstars has contributed to the stepping up the research excellence of the Institute of Food Technology in Novi Sad (FINS) in close collaboration with internationally-leading research institutions: TEAGASC-Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Ireland and University of Bologna, Italy. Within the framework of FOODstars project trainings, schools and workshops brought new knowledge and skills in the field of food technology - new food product development. Particularly, the research excellence of FINS has been raised throughout the whole innovative food product development cycle: from the generation and management of innovative ideas for the development of food products, and even more thorough experimental research planning to the applications of novel processing technologies and consumer research, underpinning innovation power to develop new food formulations and technology solutions.
During the project, 13 one-month trainings were conducted, 4 schools organized and 2 study visits to TTOs. Knowledge is gained in the field of novel food raw materials and technologies, food structure, food components analysis, aroma profiling, sensory and consumer science. Research results have been gathered to be published in the top 10% impact ranked scientific journals. Furthermore, 9 workshops: “New value from food processing waste streams and by-products”, “Protective/preventive role of bioactive food components in human health”, “Green extraction techniques in food science”,”Recent developments in microencapsulation of food ingredients”, “Creation a successful business plan”, “IPR in food science”, “Knowledge transfer to food SMEs”, “From idea to innovative food product” and “On the road to Innovation Union: European food legislation” were organized not only for FINS researchers, but for all interested stakeholders.
Different dissemination and promotion activities have been carried out within the framework of FOODstars project. Information evenings ''Everything you wanted to know about food quality, but had no one to ask'' preceded the conduct of the consumers’ survey to find out the topics of most interest for the consumers. On the basis of received responses three topics were selected to be covered by the information evenings: food additives (1), fats (2) and salt in food (3). The events were further promoted in a dedicated TV show ’’Potrošački reporter’’ (engl. Consumer reporter) and broadcasted at The Public Broadcasting Service. Three open days ''Inside FINS'' were organized for several target groups: school children to explore the fun of food research, under- and postgraduate researchers to enable them to review the possibilities for further research and postgraduate research opportunities, industry representatives and other business stakeholders to demonstrate the existing research capabilities and to find opportunities of joint cooperation and partnership. Round table discussions ''Current problems in food SMEs in Serbia–and the ways of overcoming them'' proved to be a successful strategy to enhance the interaction between the food industry and FINS. The final FOODstars leaflet was developed and published under the name ""Towards a sustainable future and changing marketplace and the stars within our reach"". Press releases have been used as the main communication channels with journalist and editors of mainly local print and electronic media (radio, television, internet portals and blogs). Each single press release has been acting as FOODstars news multiplier, helping to reach the wider public. Apart from the cooperation with Consumers' Association of Serbia, successful cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vojvodina was established.
As the final activity, the 4th International Congress ''Food Quality, Technology and Safety – FoodTech 2018'' was organised under the motto ''Innovation matters'' implying the connection of this event with the FOODstars project. The congress comprised of several thematic sessions organised to promote research, development, innovation, education and networking within food science and technology. The researchers from TEAGASC, Ireland and UNIBO, Italy were actively involved in the organisation of the congress serving as a members of International Scientific Board and contributing to the congress program, which resulted in the high scientific quality and ultimately to the overall success of the congress."
FINS researches increased their visibility to European and international scientific community, increased the international contacts and broaden the networks. FOODstars enabled the establishment of strong links with consumers and by educating and informing them, made them the most available innovation partners in new food product development, capable to make good choices and buy innovative, nutritious, high quality and eco-friendly food products. Strong links with food industry and policy makers have been established not only for consultation, but for the development of trust-enhancing mechanisms within “innovative food product development cycle”. Ultimately, the excellent multidisciplinary science for the creation of an innovative community capable of addressing diverse social challenges have been promoted. FOODstars offered an opportunity to identify the deficiencies in research curriculum of FINS which will serve for strategic planning and growth of FINS. The benefits of FOODstars influenced the increase of the motivation of FINS researchers to be involved in the preparation of international research projects, making them more proactive in finding new project partners and new funding opportunities. FINS researchers become more ambitious to rearrange the research environment at FINS in line with the leading research institutions from ERA. FOODstars has offered an opportunity for a significant interaction with the representatives of food industry, and enabled FINS to impose itself as an inevitable partner in the programmes of academia-industry collaboration.