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Traditionally, innovation is considered a linear process where Innovation should indeed be a priority to ensure benefi ts of research results are developed into applicable principles such as research results to citizens and society, optimally through proof of concept and further implementation in practical production. economic impact, i.e. jobs. The agriculture and food sec- By considering innovation as an interactive circular process the tor can make a quantum leap to reduce the European output will be potentiated and the impact shortened in time as well innovation paradox and, hence, make progress in the as expanded in volume, i.e. more will come out of a given research competitiveness of the food industry and in innovation result at a given time. By introducing a dialogue with the end user in the food sector, which would be a prime benefi t where the end product, along one line of thinking, is considered the to everybody. The complementarity between the starting point of a new development, a circular process is initiated. European Innovation Partnership on Agriculture This concept is also called the learning loop or user-driven innovation, and a Food KIC should be enhanced through and is ideally performed by involving university researchers, technol- close cooperation, which will only be possible ogy transfer providers and industry. Involvement of innovative SMEs is if the Food KIC is launched not later than at crucial for shortening the path from research to the benefi t for citizens. the very beginning of Horizon 2020. Finally, This should include both knowledge intensive SMEs as well as SMEs the involvement of companies and notably with limited R&D, but with a need for being included in the knowl- SMEs as well as unusual partners (venture edge loop for upgrading their business and innovation potential. capital, farmers, traders, retail and out- ofhome partners as well as end users) In order to support innovation, research projects need to have bet- should be facilitated – which would be ter access to funding that bridges the gap between invention and welcomed by the whole knowledge industrial uptake of new ideas, i.e. valorisation. Such gap funding triangle community. schemes should allow the most promising technologies to be tested in a business plan approach. Patenting must be further encouraged and the involved companies should have an obligation to use the IP generated in joint research. On the other hand research institutions should have an obligation to develop IP together with industrial partners. However, the IP should be valorised by companies, not by research institutions. And, in general, patent policies should be reconsidered to motivate scientists to innovate rather than seeing them as a hindrance. A great challenge is education at every level, fi rst of all, to provide innovative industries in the sector with highly qualifi ed personnel to help them capitalise on the results, but also to help citizens become informed about the new technologies and their acceptance of these. An effort in terms of education related to good, safe and sustainable food should be made towards citizens of all ages and with special focus on opinion makers. Professional communicators must be edu- cated to transfer information and knowledge properly from research and science communities to commercial stakeholders, consumers and the general public. Within the area of food and health, life-long learning approaches should be developed for key professionals (e.g. doctors/physicians, teachers), on the most recent scientifi c de- velopments and status, thus creating means to alter consumer food choices to the better. The European Federation for Food Science and Technology, which consists of approx. 100,000 independent food experts, can play a vital role in improving European food education and research qualities. 38


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