The Finland-China Network in Food and Health is a new multidisciplinary network which aims, on their part, to answer the global challenges related to food. The purpose of the network is to develop research and cooperation with impact, including innovations and business cooperation.
The network includes 21 Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences and their Chinese colleagues. University of Turku is the coordinator of the network.
The kick-off event was organised online on Monday 1 November 2021. University of Turku’s Rector Jukka Kola opened the event. Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland (Director General, Atte Jääskeläinen), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Counsellor of Science and Technology, Yuan Xudong), and the Ministry of Education of China (Director of International Cooperation of CEAIE, Fu Bo) were also present and gave their remarks and support to the network.
- This is an important joint project that was slowed down by the pandemic, but now we are able to continue with our cooperation. Our cooperation with Chinese institutions creates meaningful opportunities for long-term cooperation in accordance with sustainability goals and principles. Food is a basic need and the availability and high quality of food maintains public health. There is plenty of research opportunities for international cooperation between Finland and China, says rector Jukka Kola.
More than 130 Finnish and Chinese researchers participated in the online event, with around 40 researchers presenting their research topics. Based on these presentations the purpose was to discuss the possible new research topics based on the common interest areas.
The discussion included topics like food safety, sustainability related to food and environment, and sustainable food chains. Food and health-related research topics could also be linked to health issues such as metabolic diseases and food behavior behind the different diseases.
- The kick-off event was a success. The researchers were really enthusiastic about the possibility of collaboration in the new network. Some of the researchers are already collaborating in bilaterial projects. This new network opens up possibility for cooperation in a broader scope. During the kick-off event, there were active discussions about fields of common interest and complementary expertise. The next steps are planning concrete joint projects together and organizing more workshops of more focused topics and researcher exchanges, says the director of the network, professor of food chemistry and food development at University of Turku, Baoru Yang.
The network is linked to the global internationalisation programme which the Ministry of Culture and Education of Finland has launched together with Finnish higher education institutes. The progamme will enable eight pilot networks linked with co-operation in different geographical areas.