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This month, GFAR Secretariat had the pleasure of welcoming, at FAO Headquarters in Rome, a delegation of 16 researchers about to embark on a world tour examining the future of food and food-related technologies. The students are participating in the “Food Innovation Global Mission”, a pioneering mission taking place from 12th May to 12th July, organized by the Future Food Institute (FFI). FFI is an international non-profit organisation, founded in Italy, and a leader in innovation in the agri-food sector.

The researchers departing on the mission are part of the “Food Innovation Program” - an annual Master’s Degree held in Reggio Emilia (Italy). The course was conceived by the Future Food Institute, in collaboration with Unimore (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia) and the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto (California), and involving renowned lecturers and scientists from some of the world’s most esteemed universities, including Stanford University, Tongji, PolyU, HKUST, Wageningen and UC Davis to name a few.

The researchers departing Italy for the Global Mission come from Belgium, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, the United States of America, Colombia, India, China, Jordan and the Philippines. They have been carefully selected due to their academic qualifications, professional achievements and personal motivation. They are engineers, food technologists, chemists, economists, young entrepreneurs, designers, chefs, agronomists, political scientists, international cooperation experts, food scientists and managers. This delegation, accompanied by FFI representatives will travel for 60 days to 12 innovative hubs particularly strategic in terms of both research and companies/startups system.

Food innovation is an increasingly relevant area of inquiry and investment globally. Along with speakers from FAO, GFAR Secretariat officers stepped up to share their knowledge in key thematic areas which the researchers will be focusing on during the course of the Global Mission:

• Scalable Sustainability & Circular Systems

• Future of Proteins

• Agro-innovation in Smart Cities

• Food Care & Future of Food Service

When their world tour has been completed, one of these young researchers will be seconded to GFAR Secretariat, to foster knowledge sharing on advances in food technologies and their implications within the GFAR community.

The meeting at FAO was preceded earlier in the day by a press conference at the headquarters of Confagricoltura. The President of Confagricoltura, Raffaele Maiorano, who is also GFAR’s Vice-Chair, gave words of encouragement to the young researchers to motivate them to take as much learning as they could from this opportunity.