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Dear ladies and gentlemen,
The president of EFFoST, Dietrich Knorr, has asked me to introduce the EFFoST ‘Student of the Year Award (SOYA) 2012 to you. If you remember his words ‘EFFoST represents directly and indirectly more than 100000 members, you can imagine that winning an Olympic medal is peanuts as compared to winning the SOYA award. Even more, if you take into account that top sportsmen normally stop at the age of 30 and scientists and the age of 80 (or beyond), the impact and lasting value of the award is even exponentially higher.
And, taking into account the introductory words of my colleague, and inspiring science coordinator of the EFFoST 2012 conference, Nathalie Gontard – ‘we are in the process of creating a new view on science from a holistic as well as an in-depth knowledge approach’ – the value of this award is impossible to describe and put into value.
However, thanks to Cargill as sponsor of the SOYA award – and especially its science coordinator Didier Bonnet – we have been able not only to stick to words and paper awards, but to something of real and sustainable value. As you may remember from the speeches of John Ingram and Ulf Sonesson, the economic value is only one of three pillars of sustainability. For decades, it has been considered as ‘the pillar’, hopefully it will be bypassed by the social and environmental pillars very soon. As winners of the SOYA award, you may be well able to contribute to this transition.
Why focusing on young scientists? Two days ago, I have had the honor and pleasure to join the young scientist workshop fully organized and steered by young scientists themselves. If you like to see passion, a spirit and an internationally built up culture: it is there, in their hands, in their minds and – in some cases – in their hearts. Regarding their hearts, we shouldn’t underestimate its importance. As Jurgen Lucas, scientific officer of the European Commission, once said to me: ‘a crossing-border marriage is the key deliverable of a European Project’.
Young scientists: you did and you will do excellent work organizing these events, contributing with posters and oral presentations, and helping food science and technology to fascinating new scientific insights and breakthrough innovations. You deserve it to be all awarded, but sorry, ‘budgets are limited, even those of sponsors like Cargill’.
Dr Hugo de Vries