FEEDtheMIND, Food-related European Education in the Digital era to Motivate Innovative New-product Development
The FEEDtheMIND project (Food-related European Education in the Digital Era to Motivate Innovative New-Product Development) is a Strategic Partnership project funded by the Erasmus+ program that brings together Higher Education Institutions and food federations from 5 European countries around the promotion of a food innovation education of excellence and a project-based approach using a digital pedagogical platform. This 3-year project will facilitate the exchange of pedagogical methods between the different European HEIs partner organisations and foster the acquisition of transversal skills and competences.
Europe's Food and Drink Industry represents 4.57
million people employed throughout the EU, a turnover of €1.1 trillion and €230
billion in added value, which make it the largest manufacturing industry in the
EU. There is a strong innovation dynamic in this sector to answer consumer’s
expectations, which has been leading to the development of R&D departments
and to the increase in agri-food start-ups European-wide. Although students
demonstrate will for the development of innovative food products, as
demostrated by the national and European ECOTROPHELIA competitions, it seems
that it is not enough for them to launch their products on the market. European
students in food-related courses, i.e. the future professionals of the sector,
show skills gaps when it comes to areas such as project management,
entrepreneurial mind-set, communication, marketing, finances and business plan,
because the HEIs’ curriculum is, in most cases, focused on food sciences and
process. These skills gaps limit their potential to create their own company
and even to better succeed in the professional world.
In this context, FEEDtheMIND project intends to demonstrate that the European food education requires a systemic, interdisciplinary approach based on a food innovation education of excellence and a project-based approach.
For a duration of three years, this project has the following objectives:
- adapt, test and implement a digital pedagogical platform focusing on the development of an innovative food product;
- facilitate the exchange of pedagogical methods between the different European HEIs partner organisations;
- contribute to the rethink of the curriculum design by enabling HEIs to provide online courses.
Ultimately, this project aims to foster
entrepreneurship among students attending food-related degrees.
Within the framework of this project, various contents and tools are going to be developed, namely:
- a digital pedagogical platform that will allow the students to acquire transversal skills and competences by following their individual path;
- case studies on new pedagogical approaches and the acquisition of new competences;
- a list of perceived skills and knowledge underdeveloped and considered necessary both for the higher education and the labour market;
- innovative food products, supported by the FEEDtheMIND multidisciplinary digital learning tool, by transnational teams, through a mobility activity and/or virtually;
- a good practices guideline that would be the foundation for new and innovative pedagogies and, ideally, the adaptation of the curriculum.
In the long term, this project will have an impact at three different levels:
- at an individual level (the students), by proposing a pedagogical approach that delivers knowledge and transversal competences, promotes an entrepreneurial mind-set and creative thinking;
- at an organisational level, by training professors/researchers and staff and consequently improving the quality of education, and by strengthening the cooperation and network between leader HEIs in five different countries;
- at a system level, by contributing to a more innovative food sector through the training of the future professionals of this sector and the connection between HEIs and the industry.
FEEDtheMIND targets three groups of participants:
- higher education students that will directly benefit from the digital pedagogical platform developed to tackle their skills gap and to promote their creativity and entrepreneurship;
- higher education professors/researchers/pedagogical staff that will benefit from the exchange of good practices and the innovative pedagogical methods;
- professionals from the food sector that will share their expectations regarding the industry’s future professionals.