The event primarily aims to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships and joint projects between business, RDI and governmental stakeholders in food processing, information and communication technologies (ICT), and advanced manufacturing and automation in order to facilitate industrial development in Central Europe and the involvement of the participants in the established European networks.
In his keynote speech, Dr. István Szabó, Deputy President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office pointed out: “The development of new food technology solutions can only be successful if driven by cooperation between industry and research centres. We consider it a priority to support agri-food projects, as this field is related to two of the six sectoral priorities set out in the S3 National Smart Specialisation Strategy (namely: Healthy and locally produced food and Agricultural innovation). This field has received nearly HUF 40 billion in economic development and innovation funding from domestic and EU sources since 2010.”
The Deputy President of the NRDI Office added that domestic businesses and research centres really need stronger international relations. Hungarian research centres and businesses have won altogether EUR 22 million (i.e. over HUF 7 billion) for 143 projects related to food safety and sustainable agriculture from the EU’s 2020 Horizon framework programme, mostly by partnering with international consortia. This makes Hungary one of the top performers in H2020 calls in the agri-food field. The Horizon Europe framework programme, to be launched in 2021, is expected to put even more emphasis on supporting cooperation between different sectors, such as the food industry and ICT, so the Budapest event is an important step in propagating a collaborative mindset and getting ready for participating in the calls of the new framework.
Food industry innovation expert András Sebők, the professional director of the event, explained: “The combination of the knowledge accumulated in various industries and the integration of Industry 4.0 and digitisation solutions can greatly improve food processing operations and the efficiency, flexibility and sustainability of the food-processing processes. This leads to a higher standard of food safety, more consistent food quality and a wider range of food, while providing easily accessible information to consumers about the origin and production of food. The new solutions also contribute to the more efficient use of energy, water, raw materials and packaging materials, thus reducing the environmental impact.”
The presentations and the subsequent thematic group discussions of the two-day event provided a forum for 105 Hungarian and international professionals from 14 countries where they could learn about and share their views on new solutions, development trends, strategies and training programmes in food processing. This also fosters an international dialogue and interdisciplinary research, development an innovation cooperation in the fields of food processing, ICT, advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
Budapest, 19 September 2019