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Evaluation of food sciences and related research completed

Research-industry cooperation needed to generate innovations.

Published

Research-industry cooperation needed to generate innovations

17.3.2006

Finnish research and product development in the food industry sector should be more aimed at developing health-promoting and chronic disease-preventing food products. To be able to produce new innovations, universities, research institutes and industry should step up their cooperation, and further support it by providing new funding opportunities. This is the verdict of the international panel of experts that assessed the Finnish research field. Commissioned by the Academy of Finland, Tekes, Sitra, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation (FFDIF), the evaluation was published on Friday in Helsinki.

The evaluation was focused on consumption research related to food sciences, nutrition and foods and its aim was to produce information on the international standard and impact of research in the field, as well as on its strengths and weaknesses. A particular goal was to add fuel to the future development of the field.

The international expert panel finds the overall standard of research in the Finnish food sector good. The panel underlines the high level of Finnish food safety and the traceability of food products, which should be more effectively made use of internationally. Finnish nutrition research is also seen as maintaining high standards. It has generated practices that have benefited experts worldwide in their drafting of dietary recommendations.

The experts nevertheless emphasise that Finnish research and the Finnish industry’s product development in the field should more closely together and define their development areas more precisely. One such area could be the development of new solutions for health promotion and chronic disease risk – with a special view to developing the products from the Finnish consumers’ perspective, i.e. considering health risks and eating habits.

The panel feels that one of the weaknesses of the Finnish food industry is the somewhat scattered research field, as well as the low level of national and international mobility of researchers. The panel proposes that longer-term funding be allocated to research in the field, even for ten-year terms, and that more flexible funding opportunities be made available.

The report of the international evaluation panel has been published in PDF format on the Academy of Finland website at www.aka.fi/publications. The report can also be ordered from the Academy’s Communications via viestinta@aka.fi or +358 9 7748 8473.

Further information:

Senior Vice President, R&D, Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Chair of Academy of Finland Research Council for Biosciences and Environment, tiina.mattila-sandholm@valio.fi

Science Adviser Sanna-Maija Miettinen, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 9 7748 8473, sanna-maija.miettinen@aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications Communications Specialist Riitta Tirronen, tel. +358 9 7748 8369, +358 40 828 1724, riitta.tirronen@aka.fi

Further information, Sitra:

Executive Director Anu Harkki, Sitra’s Food and Nutrition Programme ERA,
tel + 358 9 6189 9458, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Read also press release The Academy of Finland supports food research with seven million euros, innovative research data a success factor also for industry on the Academy of Finland website »

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