The Emilia-Romagna Region, in central Italy, just launched Food-ER, the International Network for Education and Industrial Research on Food and Beverage. It is the first international university dedicated to food and the agribusiness sector.
Food-ER will allow young talents from different countries to specialize in several subjects. These include the new methods for ensuring food quality and safety, the digitization and innovation of production processes, reducing the environmental impact of food production, nutrition and health, food law and regulations, and design and creativity applied to food.
Within the next three years, Food-ER will launch programs to train new agri-food professionals, with a focus on sustainability. The courses will include master’s degrees, executive programs for business, and PhDs.
The Food-ER network will be based in the Emilia-Romagna Food Valley, where the modern food industry and artisan knowledge and traditions thrive together.
Food-ER brings together the four universities located in Emilia-Romagna: the Universities of Parma (the project leader), Modena and Reggio Emilia, Bologna, and Ferrara.
Other actors support the four founding Universities. These include the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Piacenza, which is already part of the High Technology Network of the Emilia-Romagna Region, and the Clust-ER Agribusiness, which brings together public and private actors, research centers, companies, and training institutions. Several regional companies, both supply chain leaders and small and medium-sized enterprises, and the five international trade fair districts of Emilia-Romagna are also part of the project.
The new courses aim at enhancing the traditions and strengths of territories, universities, and the local food industry.
“With Food-ER we created a national hub of education in a sector where our region stands out. We aim to attract young people here from all over the world, to help us face the challenges of sustainability and competitiveness of our companies,” said Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
“We are doing it as a regional system, putting together universities, research centers, companies, and other entities with strong territorial roots and traditions,” Bonaccini continued.
“Our model is MUNER, the Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna, which today attracts hundreds of students from all over the world with its international degree courses in engineering in the automotive sector. Similarly, we want to foster research and innovation in such an important sector as agribusiness, which is crucial for our region and the whole country.“