EFFoST caught up with Beate to hear her thoughts on the food industry and the main changes that occurred during her career.
"It is a great honour to receive the European Federation of Food Science and Technology award. Science to society is actually what EFFoST stands for by facilitating knowledge and technology exchange among food professionals and scientists. It provides opportunities for young scientists to develop a career in the food industry, given that the food industry is carefully watching and contributing to the activities of EFFoST."
Promoting innovation within the food sector has been an important aspect of your career, moving forward what should the industry focus on?
A strong and innovative food sector creates employment opportunities and economic growth. Innovation itself always has an added value. Better knowledge leads to better policies and regulations where they are required. In addition, about 500 million EU citizens and 7.2 billion people worldwide rely every day on high-quality food for their well-being.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve an innovative European Union that emphasizes excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
The Food System of Tomorrow should focus on using nature’s resources in a responsible and sustainable manner. It needs to be dynamic, flexible, fully transparent and accessible to all. Its aim should be:
- to increase R&D and Innovation strategy;
- to coordinate research in Europe and prevent duplication;
- to promote SME participation, specific programmes and networks;
- to focus, align and collaborate transnationally between stakeholders;
- to increase multidisciplinary / cross-sector education, and;
- to optimise knowledge capture and dissemination of knowledge between the Member States and towards SMEs.
What is the biggest change in the relationship between science and society you have seen in your career?
Over time the networking between scientists and stakeholders has become more intense and it has become a common practice, as I call it ’to channel academic knowledge to industrial needs’. Networking between stakeholders and academia are THE MEANS to bring SCIENCE to SOCIETY, but therefore it is necessary to establish permanent dialogues between all players to understand each other. Sometimes it is necessary to be patient when explaining the benefits of new technological achievements, especially in the food area, to society. If scientific language is not well understood by society, we will fail to bring across important new scientific knowledge to society.
From 2005 to 2018 you were the Director of Food Policy, Science and R&D at FoodDrinkEurope and the secretariat of ETP ‘ Food for Life’. What is the mission of ETP ‘Food for Life’ and how does it contribute to sustainability?
Our vision is to step-change the innovation power and impact of the European food industry for the benefit of a sustainable society. Our mission is the delivery of a pre-competitive research strategy and ensure a collaborative approach in the execution of the implementation agenda for the European food industry that is targeted towards:
- A sustainable food supply, including food processing, new technologies, and consumer acceptance through a food chain approach.
- The prevention of the rise in non-communicable diseases, focusing on nutrition and behaviour changes.
Established in 2005, ETP Food for Life aims to become a strategic, flexible and long-term alliance for technology to foster public-private collaboration across a range of stakeholder communities, including industry (multinational, national and SME), research (scientific and humanities), consumers, regulators, regional and national funding agencies, financial institutions, policy developers and opinion formers. The European Technology Platform on Food for Life fosters a thriving European Food Ecosystem that builds on European cultural diversity working in partnership with consumers and industry.
For this reason, ETP Food for Life issued a joint declaration together with FoodDrinkEurope, the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), EIT Food, Food Nexus and FOODforce to transform the agri-food sector in Europe into a more competitive, sustainable and trusted sector, securing the production of safe, nutritious food that every consumer loves.
Beate Kettlitz received the Science to Society award during the award ceremony at the 32nd EFFoST International Conference. Her professional career includes being Department manager at the Regional Hygiene Institute of Potsdam, Food policy adviser at BEUC and Director for Food Safety, Science and R&D at FoodDrinkEurope. In December 2018, she retired after a long career in food policy and science.
About the EFFoST Science to Society Award
Every year, EFFoST awards a food scientist with the Science to Society Award. This award gives recognition to individuals or organizations whose work has advanced the understanding and appreciation of the value of food science and technology to society. Previous winners include Prof Ronan Gormley (2017), Wendy Hurp (2017), and Dr Jürgen Lucas (2016).
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