A World To Valorize
The world is facing enormous challenges, with the global population expected to rise to between 9 and 10 billion by 2050. Feeding this growing population has implications for man, beast and the environment. Roelof Joosten, COO of dairy concern FrieslandCampina, presents his views.
In some parts of the world, fertile land and clean drinking water are already scarce. But even if the availability of land and water were not a problem, will there be enough farmers to produce our daily food requirements in the future? And will they earn enough to provide for their families? FrieslandCampina wants its activities to help solve these global problems.
Breeding ground for innovation
Obviously no single company can achieve this on its own – you have to work with other parties, such as the University of Groningen and the UMCG. Apart from carrying out fundamental and applied research, universities are also a breeding ground for innovation and talent. This is a function that universities should nurture and expand. A Groningen initiative like the University of Groningen Centre of Entrepreneurship is a perfect example. Businesses need students who are willing to push back the boundaries and develop their talents outside the bounds of their chosen degree programme, in this case, develop their entrepreneurial spirit.
You need the companies to gain access to concrete products. In a way, industry and universities can’t do without each other. This has always been the case and if anything, they will probably need each other even more in the future. Take topics such as nutrition and health, food safety and food security, for example. Our dietary requirements are changing as our life expectancy increases. Practical research is needed to find out which types of food benefit cardiovascular health, for example, and which will combat obesity and malnutrition. In addition, we need companies with the knowledge and expertise to produce these products and bring them onto the market.
We think that we can achieve these goals if we work in public private partnerships. The Healthy Ageing Cluster and the Carbohydrate Competence Center in Groningen are just two examples. Both institutes are providing industry with a broad platform of high-quality knowledge in the area of nutrition and health, which we simply don’t have ourselves. Using and investing in these institutes allows our company to explore new avenues for improving our products. What is also important is that Brussels is investing in the successful Groningen Life Sciences cluster. This gives guarantees for the future.
‘The ‘region’ no longer exists – the world is our playing field. At the end of 2013, FrieslandCampina set up a new Chinese-Dutch research and knowledge centre to improve Chinese dairy production. Cooperation between industry, government and academia will enable the Netherlands to retain, strengthen and expand its position on the global food and agriculture market. But this does not only apply to us; it applies to other sectors too. The University of Groningen has a golden triangle with its research themes Energy, Sustainable Society and Healthy Ageing, and FrieslandCampina is valorizing milk. But an enterprising spirit is what really counts. This spirit is there for all to see in the investigative entrepreneurs and enterprising investigators featured in this brochure. They each have their own story to tell, and together they can make the world a better place.
|Last modified:||19 June 2014 4.12 p.m.|