The launch of the second edition of Food Innovation Program

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Reggio Emilia, September 2016 – The second edition of the Food Innovation Program (FIP), an international Master of the second level dedicated to food and innovation has launched. The program is supported by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Unimore), Future Food Institute (FFI), and Institute for the Future in Palo Alto (IFTF), under the patronage of the Emilia Romagna Region, the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, and Legacoop. The Food Innovation spaces have been created thanks to an agreement signed by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Reggio Emilia Innovation. From mid-September, 15 international students from all over the world (Italy, the Philippines, Poland, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, India, Ethiopia, Turkey, the United States, Jordan, and Egypt) will immerse themselves in the world of food innovation from the birthplace of the Reggio Approach.

These talents, students with high-profile backgrounds and diverse academic training, will be joined by professors from the most important Italian and international universities, to explore and identify the critical technologies for agriculture, food distribution, retail and consumption, as well as the spread and development of radical innovations in the food industry through a comprehensive approach that addresses the entire food chain, in line with the “Seed of Disruption Forecast Map” developed by IFTF and the 2015 Ingredients for Food Innovation research report.

“Even more so today, food and innovation are the test beds of the present and the future for every community,” says the mayor of Reggio Emilia Luca Vecchi. “More and more connected to each other, they are indispensable nourishment not just for the body but also for our knowledge, the influence between know-how and the way of life of the people. They go well together, above all when food-related innovation generates research and responses able to counter the culture of waste, create sustainability, equality, health and good taste, in addition to transferring scientific-technological know-how and training of young experts. Reggio Emilia, a city of strong international relations, sharp and active on these themes, is proud to host the second edition of the Food Innovation Program, after the success of the previous, which was constructively built around the environment of Expo 2015.”

The 12-month-long master, inspired by the methods of creaative learning and design thinking, will be divided into three different phases: the Inspirational Track (September to December 2016), the Aspirational Track (January to February 2017) and the Perspirational Track (March through in mid-July). Students will be followed by an entrepreneurial team composed of, among others, an expert of food experience that will monitor and guide them on a nutritional level for the duration of the Program.

The “Inspirational Track“, will take place at the Food Innovation space, OffiCucina, designed by Francesco Bombardi of the Food Innovation Program and the latest among the labs of Reggio Emilia Innovation. OffiCucina came to life in 2015, as part of initiatives throughout Reggio territory to support the Milan Expo with the contribution of Fondazione Manodori. This module will be led by internationally renowned professors such as Matthew Lange and Daniela Barile, of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, and Steven Gedeon, director of Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute, to provide an intensive and comprehensive academic experience, alongside inspirational lessons, conferences, speeches of opinion leaders, policy makers, inventors, artists, social entrepreneurs, and star chefs from around the world, all in the forefront in the world of food and innovation. In addition, every two weeks lectures will be accompanied by challenges, launched by corporate partners, the first of which will be at the Maker Faire in Roma from October 14th to 16th. This allows for a complete circle in which students apply the knowledge learned in lessons to problems of the working world, and thanks to a young, fresh, and international vision, they can achieve innovative solutions to the problems present in the current food and wine industry. The opportunity allows for direct connections between the world of education and business, with an international lens to guide their program of study and action.

The “Aspirational Track” from January to February 2017 includes the Food Innovation Global Tour, and will bring students to the cities of Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Singapore, Kyoto, Davis, Palo Alto, Boston, London, Wageningen, and Barcelona with stops at prestigious universities such as UC Davis, the Wageningen University, and Tongji University in Shanghai. The 60 day tour of the world will bring the young ambassadors of innovation in the most important international food innovation hotspots to learn, be inspired and imagine the future of food.

The culture of Emilia Romagna, the cradle of the Italian ”food valley” will also be spread thanks to collaboration with I Love Italian Food, a promotional platform of Italian culinary tradition with over a million followers on Facebook. In each stage of the journey a “100per100 Italian Night” dinner will be organized, allowing for an encounter with Italian cuisine for each of the Food Innovation Global Tour countries.

From March until mid-July, students will experience the “Perspirational Track”  taking place in the OffiCucina laboratories, a unique kitchen specifically designed for the Food Innovation Program. This is where ideas become reality and the students will experience the ability to create prototypes of innovative products, or products and services based on challenges. Finally, from late July to September 2017, students will work on their the final dissertation to be presented at the closing ceremony of the Program held in Reggio Emilia.

For this second edition of Food Innovation Program 100,000 euros in scholarship were awarded by the partner companies.