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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

iFOODnet: Towards a Norway-Japan Innovative Research & Training Network Driving Next-Generation Food Systems

Alternative title: iFOODnet: Norge-Japan nettverk for forskning- & høyere utdanning mot neste generasjon bærekraftige og ressurseffektive matsystemer

Awarded: NOK 3.7 mill.

iFOODnet will develop world-class research & education in Norway upon long-term Noway-Japan (inter)national partnership on 4 cross-disciplinary/sectoral innovation pillars (CIPs) paving the way towards next-generation sustainable, resource-efficient, zero-waste food systems, and eventually, a smart, circular & resilient bioeconomy 4.0. In iFOODnet, NOFIMA, the Europe?s largest applied science food research institute teams up with Norwegian University of Technology & Science (NTNU) to build long-term, international collaboration with strong academic groups in Japan, at Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology (TUMSAT) and Tokyo University of Agriculture (TokyoNODAI). In the light of the global pandemic and associated travel restrictions, a number of modifications have been made to the overall project plan and budget. These are described in detail under the respective WPs below. Progress made within the iFOODnet project during the period 01.02.21-30.09.21 includes: [WP1.1] Training and Innovation - The iFOODnet training school will be held on-line on 8-12th November 2021, with NTNU as the host organization. The "save-the-date" invitation has been sent and the program under preparation to be released this month opening for the student registration. As an open event to expand the project scope, we envisage up to 50 students joining from Norway and Japan. The remaining activities (innovation-oriented activities) in WP1.1 have been postponed to next year due to the pandemic, and the budget modified accordingly (15% indirect costs and most direct costs to be transferred to 2022 and 2023). [WP1.2] Research and Innovation - The student mobility scheme including a contingency plan and student evaluation scheme defined in collaborative efforts, the initial CIP meeting (07.04.2021) held with Japanese and Norwegian researchers proposing/presenting topics for potential research collaboration. These topics were summarised in a topic-mapping table per CIP and partner, and a prioritized list for collaboration was compiled following partner feedback, which allowed identification (coupling) of "sending" and "hosting" institutions for the upcoming student mobility. A follow up meeting planned in the fall to initiate collaboration between individual researchers parallel to the student mobility. The student mobility has been postponed to 2022 and budget modified accordingly (15% indirect costs and all direct costs to be transferred to 2022 and 2023). [WP2] Formalisation of Institutional Partnership - WP2 kick off meeting (06.05.2021) with the administrative staff at each partner institute, with focus on the status of bilateral agreements and the structure of the study programs at the different universities. Information of student housing shared among the consortium. MoU for research and for student exchange between NTNU & TUMSAT and NTNU & TokyoNODAI in progress. Existing MoU (for cooperation) between Nofima & TUMSAT reviewed for renewal in 2022, and MoU between Nofima & Tokyo NODAI in progress. iFOODnet has facilitated dialogue between TUMSAT and University of Stavanger to establish MoU for student exchange and to enable student mobility from Nofima to TUMSAT. [WP3.1] Network coordination - Consortium agreement signed. Project kick off meeting via Zoom (17.02.2021) with the Management and Scientific Committee, ft. introduction of partner organizations, conference calls with the local manages and individual researchers, with focus on communication & coordination within the consortium, mobility, budget, task distribution. Budget modification due to corona and administrative issues. Preparation of the 2021 progress/financial reports. [WP3.2] Communication & Dissemination - The project website launched in English and Norwegian. Joint publication accepted in Food Hydrocolloids. Joint conference contribution at the Nordic Rheology Conference 2021. Due to the pandemic, 50% of the indirect costs and all of the direct costs under WP3.2 have been redistributed to 2022 and 2023.

iFOODnet will develop world-class research and education in Norway through long-term partnership with Japan (JP), upon four cross-disciplinary/sectoral innovation pillars (CIPs) advancing next-generation sustainable, resource-efficient, zero-waste food systems rooted in UN SDGs. (Inter)national partnership consisting of NO food research institute and university teaming up with 2 JP universities specialised in agriculture and marine science will greatly advance NO knowledge-base and innovation capacity within EU/NRC high-priority cooperation areas: 1) Bioprospection of Novel Biomolecules & Microbiome Sequencing, with metagenome screening & omics tools for unlocking new genetic resources, microbiomes & biomolecules 2) Innovative Food Processing and Functionality, with emerging technologies and functional ingredients to ensure diverse, safe, high-quality & nutritious foods 3) Biomaterials and Smart Packaging, with new-generation biomaterials and smart food (nano) packaging 4) Food Waste Biorefinery, for valorisation of food waste & underutilised resources into food bioactives and biopolymers. iFOODnet‘s Training Research & Innovation Programme (ITP) will combine CIP-centred /student) mobility with innovation-orineted activities and annual Training School designed to boost entrepreneurial mind-set, holistic problem-solving skills and multidisciplinary competences. A dedicated WP will ensure long-term institutional partnership upon bilateral agreements, accreditation of iFOODnet training programme and co-development of joint programme and infrastructure, involving key academic and administrative staff members at NO and JP universities. Framed by RRI strategy, iFOODnet will provide a unique research-education-innovation interface through open multi-thematic workshops and network-wide dissemination/training events which will further reinforce the quality and relevance of iFOODnet research & ITP, while enlarging project impact and int’l visibility of partner institutions.

Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research