Product and process innovation in the food industry through stimulation of open pilot infrastructure

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    With this project we want to stimulate product and process innovation in the food sector by the creation of an 'open innovation' infrastructure system for (mainly) SMEs. The aim is to make infrastructure from the public and the private sector (both laboratory infrastructure and  test pilot and semi-industrial scale) available for the participating candidate innovators. We also make it available for the schools and institutes that train future workers in the food industry. A parallel objective is to create a strategy for the controlled sharing and dissemination of innovative (pilot) concepts in the food industry. The individuality and the participatory involvement of the food companies is central to the approach used in this project.

    Research approach
    We compile an inventory of the potential participating companies from the food production and processing chain with an emphasis on SMEs. We gauge the possibilities within a selected group of manufacturing companies and machine builders to share available infrastructure with other companies. We use the pilot equipment of the knowledge centres in the network together with  the pilot and lab infrastructure at ILVO. We design custom innovation infrastructure concepts and make them available during company visits. We organize company visits, demonstrations, seminars and workshops and also boost knowledge dissemination through training (both for regular education and for retraining of food operators). In the course of all these contacts, we record what needs and opportunities are desirable for innovative infrastructure for food companies. We use the reports as a guideline to invest in our own and shared ' open innovation' infrastructure.

    We expect to create for the food industry an open innovation infrastructure in which lab, pilot and semi-industrial equipment are represented and where the pilot and laboratory capabilities of the Food Pilot and other knowledge institutions, manufacturing companies and machine builders are integrated. The aim is to facilitate a common industrial open innovation infrastructure concerning nutrition, in which collective innovation concepts also find a place through existing funding channels.

    External partner(s)
    FEVIA Vlaanderen
    Flanders' Food
    Effective start/end date1/09/1231/08/14