- University of Copenhagen
With over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is one of the largest institutions of research and education in the Nordic countries. The Faculty of Science (SCIENCE) at the University of Copenhagen is Denmark’s largest research and education institution with 4,500 employees and 9,500 BSc and MSc students in 11 departments.
The Faculty’s most important task is to contribute to solving the major challenges facing the rapidly changing world with increased pressure on, among other things, natural resources and significant climate change, both nationally and globally.
At the same time, the Faculty must contribute to generating economic growth and, thus, ensure our welfare in society. This must take place in close cooperation with the business community and public authorities, organisations and other universities, both in Denmark and abroad.
In the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports we have expertise in performing dietary controlled human interventions. The Department has all the required facilities for large intervention studies including research kitchen, clinical facilities for collection of biological samples, classical clinical chemistry laboratory, as well as modern research laboratory facilities. The Department is responsible for 2 BA and 5 MSc programmes. Susanne Bügel has been involved in planning and managing the following BA in Food and Nutrition, MSc in Human Nutrition, MSc in Clinical Nutrition; and MSc in Food innovation and Health.
Organic food has been claimed to be healthier and more nutritious than conventional farmed food. However, the scientific evidence has been scarce and mostly from quality studies (measuring the content of compounds in foods) or based on animal studies. Human studies are almost non-existing and we were some of the first researchers performing human intervention studies comparing effects of intake of organic vs conventional diets (Grinder-Petersen et al., 2003; Lauridsen et al., 2008; Søltoft et al., 2011; Mark et al., 2013). This has resulted in collaboration with the European network – Food Quality and Health (FQH, www.fqhresearch.org) and participation in a number of consensus papers about organic foods and health (Velimirov et al., 2010; Kahl et al., 2010; Huber et al., 2011; Kahl et al., 2012, Kahl et al. 2014, Zalecka et al. 2014).
Key representatives of the University of Copenhagen (The Faculty of Science, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports) in the SUSPLUS project were: Prof. Susanne Bügel and Prof. Johannes Kahl.
Susanne Bügel graduated from University of southern Denmark in 1990 and got her Phd from the same university in 1994. She is today professor in Human Nutrition at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at University of Copenhagen. She works with nutrition in human health, primarily performing randomized controlled human interventions. The areas of expertise include micronutrients for optimal health, including bone and cardiovascular risk, primary food production and effects of processing. Susanne has been responsible for short-term fully controlled dietary interventions aimed at determining bioavailability of primary and secondary nutrients from organic vs conventional produced foods. She is a board member of FQH.
Johannes Kahl got his PhD in analytical chemistry and did his PostDoc at the newly funded MPI for Chemical Ecology. After lecturing at University of Sao Paulo/Brazil he worked as a group leader on organic food research at the University of Kassel/Germany (Habilitation 2007) and in years 2015-2017 he was at Copenhagen University (back in Kassel now). He is permanent visiting professor at Warsaw University of Life Sciences/Poland and guest lecturer at Universities of Barcelona/Spain and Kassel/Germany. He is chair of FOH. Johannes organized international conferences on organic food quality and health impact in Prague (www.fqh2011.org) and Warsaw (www.fqh2013.org). He is an expert in food science with special focus on organic food systems.
Susanne and Johannes are members of the Organic Food System Program (www.organicfoodsystem.net).
- Estonian University of Life Sciences
Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU) is the only university in Estonia whose priorities in academic and research activities provide the sustainable development of natural resources necessary for the existence of Man as well as the preservation of heritage and habitat. According to QS World University Rankings by Subject (2015), the Estonian University of Life Sciences is one of top 100 universities in the world in the field of agriculture and forestry, ranked 51 in 100.
The academic structure is composed of research and development institutes, centres and other structural units. Currently, teaching and research is carried out in five institutes: Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences; Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering; Institute of Technology; and Institute of Economics and Social Sciences. EMU is the centre of research and development in such fields as agriculture, forestry, animal science, veterinary science, rural life and economy, food science and environmentally friendly technologies. In 2015 there were 3652 students and 416 academic staff at the EMU. Total staff number was 963.
EMU has a good cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and other farming (also organic farming) organizations and unions in Estonia and abroad. EMU is also a member in many international networks, e.g FQH (Organic Food Quality and Health Research Association). EMU is part of the NOVA-BOVA network that unites agricultural universities and faculties of the Nordic (www.nova-university.org) and Baltic (www.bova-university.org) countries. EMU is a member of The Estonian e-University consortium and strongly supports the activities related to e-learning. There are approximately 150 e-learning subjects developed and used by the staff of EMU.
Research Centre of Organic Farming of EMU is an interdisciplinary centre in order to bring together different organic farming and food studies in EMU and to initiate further activities. Research Centre of Organic Farming of EMU (http://mahekeskus.emu.ee/) and Open University of EMU (http://avatudylikool.emu.ee/) have a strong link with entrepreneurs which enable continuing knowledge exchange.
Key EMU representatives in the SUSPLUS project were: Eve Veromann, Liina Talgre and Anne Luik.
Eve Veromann holds a PhD at plant protection and works as assistant professor. She is teaching the subject “Organic farming” to master students and has been involved in many projects focusing on environmental friendly plant protection and the role of ecosystem services in agriculture. She has experiences in project management, research coordination, dissemination of results and organising local and international events.
- University of Kassel
Founded in 1971, the University of Kassel is the newest university in the state of Hessen. Current enrolment is approximately 23696 students. The university also employs more than 3265 staff, including 303 professors as well as approximately 1484 additional academic staff and 1246 technical and administrative staff. The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics, Business and Law, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Sciences, Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Planning, Organic Agriculture Sciences and Environmental Protection, Fine Arts. All study programmes are open to German and international students and the university offers a range of degrees, including the traditional German Diplom as well as Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees. International summer and winter universities, intensive German language courses and orientation programmes for international students make Kassel an attractive place to live and study. At present, students from over 115 countries are enrolled at the University of Kassel.
Interdisciplinary research is a priority for the University of Kassel. This includes research cooperation and dialogue with research institutions from all over the world. Each academic year, more than 100 visiting scholars engage in research projects in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Kassel, making a valuable contribution to academic, social and cultural life.
The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences at UoK holds a prominent position in German and international university landscape, with its “organic profile”. It offers accredited BSc and MSc programmes in German and English language in Organic Agriculture and International Food Business and Consumer Studies and Sustainable Food Systems as well as research and education in the areas of rural development and agriculture in the subtropics and tropics. Ecology and sustainability are central to all research and teaching, forming the theoretical framework in all disciplines. The faculty name represents its self-conception: the protection and use of natural resources is of key importance. Organic Agricultural Sciences are dedicated to agriculture and food production ecologically and socially sound as well as economically successful. The faculty is well known for its research on the food chain incl. marketing, nutrition cultures and consumer studies.
The research mission of ecologically oriented agricultural and food science is justified by practising and promoting a scientific culture focused on system approach. The interdisciplinary (basic and social sciences) and network approach makes it possible to understand food contexts and formulate practice-oriented approaches to achieve solutions. All participants – from students to lecturers – contribute to the mosaic of organic agricultural and food sciences as well as consumer issues.
International orientation: Foreign guest scientists and students enrich daily university life and give the university a multicultural face. Around 80% of the International Food Business and Consumer Studies Master students are international. Many international research cooperation and university partnerships are developed, as well as regular international training programmes and cooperation with alumni activities of German universities and Summer Schools.
The Faculty cooperates with the nearby Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Goettingen and the Dpt. of Nutritional, Food and Consumer Studies of Fulda University of Applied Sciences, and within the master program Sustainable Food Systems with partner universities and higher education institutions in Ghent, Lyon, Cluj and Aarhus but also with enterprises, organizations and research institutions at regional, national and international levels. Everyday life in teaching and research takes on special relevance in practice. The faculty can claim with pride to be the spiritual cradle of many enterprises. Consulting engineering firms founded by graduates, marketing initiatives, controlling and certification organizations are in regular contact with the Faculty. Both sides profit from the cooperation, which is a basis for efficient knowledge transfer between research and practice and gives students valuable insight into future fields of activity.
The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences developed a MSc programme (together with Fulda University of Applied Sciences) “International Food Business and Consumer Studies” which runs since 9 years and has been re-accredited with excellent results. In winter term 2015/16 the EU master programme Sustainable Food Systems started. This programme was developed by The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences together with five other European higher education institutes from Lyon, Aarhus, Ghent, Fulda and Cluj. Both the MScs aim for students interested in a sustainable food system approach and consumer protection.
Coordinators of the above MSc programmes, Prof. Dr. Angelika Ploeger and Ute Gilles (MSc) (at the same time two key representatives of Uni Kassel in the SUSPLUS project) educate young professionals in the food industry with a helicopter view on the whole food chain. Their graduates are competent to initiate discussions on environmental and corporate social responsibilities. They have the skills do develop implementation strategies for sustainability aspects and to communicate in an intercultural context. The programmes offer e-learning and blended learning modules administered on e-learning platform moodle.
- University of Applied Sciences (MUAS)
FH Münster – University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) is a valued, innovative partner on a regional, national and international level. Backed by a network of strategic partnerships, it has a long tradition of education founded in 1971 and the highest rate of third-party funding at any German university. MUAS provides many contact points for its co-operation partners: in product development, company management, HR development or communication. With more than 13000 students it is one of the largest applied science universities in the country. Its twelve departments and central scientific institutions offer 76 courses with a staff of more than 260 professors, 353 academic and 416 administrative staff and trainees. MUAS is spread over three campus sites in Münster and a further three sites in Steinfurt. MUAS was the first German university of applied sciences to have been system-accredited (in 2011). External assessors at AQAS have attested that the quality management system guarantees the standards required by the Accreditation Council in all degree programmes. And what is more: reference was explicitly made to the culture of quality found at our university.
The Department of Food – Nutrition – Facilities has about 1155 students studying one of our seven courses: a Bachelor degree in Home Economics and Nutrition Science, Total Facility Management or Vocational College Teaching as well as for a Masters degree in Sustainability in Service Management and Food Industries, International Facility Management, Health and Nutrition or Vocational College Training. The Faculty employs about 65 persons (20 professors, 45 academic and administrative staff as well as a number of part time lecturers from industry) to qualify our students for their chosen professions. Our graduates work in the fields of public service, counselling, in institutions of further education for public households & consumers, in nutrition, food, services and domestic appliances industries, in health & social services facilities, in research & teaching institutions, as well as in media. The department is self-governed by a faculty council along with a dean and vice dean. Additionally it has convened an Advisory Board in 2012 made up of five independent external experts. The Department of Food – Nutrition – Facilities has a history of developing innovative study courses aligned with industry and market developments as well as taking results of modern research and development and scientific progress into account. Our Alumni play an important role and are regularly invited back into teaching settings to share topical information. Currently the Department is running a number of module prototypes in e-learning and media learning fields.
Carola Strassner (main representative of MUAS in the SUSPLUS project) is Professor of Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition Ecology at MUAS. She specialises in food systems sustainability, a whole systems approach to sustainability in the sphere of food and nutrition, especially the out-of-home (horeca) context and alternative food networks. Dr. Strassner works specifically with the subsystems institutional catering, school meals, and the organic food system. She has produced a wide range of publications for chefs, kitchen staff and disseminators and is a regular contributor to text books for professionals in the food and organic industry. She initiated and managed an international network ‘Organic Out Of Home’ for ten years. Dr. Strassner develops teaching and training modules both for undergraduate and postgraduate levels, for theory and practical applications, in both German and English. She is managing partner of the business company a’verdis – Sustainable Foodservice Solutions. Thus students benefit from a very close proximity to practice and a wide, well-established network. The Department makes full use of its geographical setting in one of the most important food industry cluster regions in the State. There are organisations from all links in the food chain- both organic and non-organic- (primary producer, food producer, trade, retail, foodservice, consumer organisations and more) which work together with us to ensure up-to-date applied education and traineeship opportunities.
Dr. Strassner’s participation in the SUSPLUS project was supported, among the others, by Leonie L. Fink (cand. Ph.D. at MUAS) involved in a wide range of research and teaching activities in the field of the organic food system, especially with organic consumers and organic diet.
- ISARA – Lyon
ISARA-Lyon is a French Higher Education Institution (Ecole d’Ingénieurs) recognized by French Ministry of Food and Agriculture and accredited by French “Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur” (independent accreditation body). With 104 permanent staff and over 200 academic and professional lecturers, ISARA trains around 800 students each year (500 BSc and 300 MSc students).
ISARA covers three activities in the food, agriculture and life sciences sectors.
– Higher education: ISARA delivers the “Engineering diploma” (Master-level degree, EUR-ACE label) under initial and vocational education but also BSc diploma and international MSc. ISARA offers a specialization in industrial food management. The excellence of ISARA curriculum is proven by the high employability of graduates (96% of them find a job within six months from their graduation).
– Research in food quality and food heritage: sustainable food systems, food products quality and qualification, relation food products – territories (human and geographical values. A research unit works on microbial ecology of fermented products (bioprotection for traditional food, innovative solutions to improve food conservation at intermediate moisture).
– Consultancy and expertise activities (see below).
ISARA has internationalized its curricula since several years and maintains a network of over 100 partner universities. It supports the development of language and intercultural skills for its students and obliges all students to experience at least one semester or internship abroad to be graduated.
ISARA coordinates three international MSC programmes: Agroecology (double degree with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Organic Agriculture double degree with the University of Wageningen), European MSc Sustainable Food Systems (in collaboration with Universities in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Romania).
As a member of the FESIA consortium (4 French private HEI in agriculture and food science), ISARA is partner of two other international Masters: EURAMA (Animal Production), and Food Identity – Erasmus Mundus (traditional food products), and has developed double degrees with ESALQ-Sao Paulo (Brazil), ITESM (Mexico) and PUC (Santiago, Chile). ISARA also coordinates short-term programmes as the Summer School on agroecology.
ISARA reputation is mainly due to its long-lasting collaboration with professional organizations.
ISARA develops consultancy activities for the food sector (contracts with over 50 companies each year), especially in:
– The development and industrialization of food products, innovation and food safety, quality, R&D, occupational diseases
– Marketing and corporate commercial strategies, labelling
ISARA experts bring operational solutions to the needs of the companies and professional organizations.
Apart from regular expertises proposed to the professionals, ISARA is used to associate professional stakeholders to its curricula: professional partners can have research or studies carried out by Master-level students under the coordination of ISARA professors, they can integrate students as interns. ISARA also proposes its facilities to food companies (food production pilot-scale laboratory, microbiology, automatism and processes, chemistry labs).
ISARA is coordinating an incubator to support enterprise creation (6 to 8 per year) in agri-food sectors.
ISARA Lyon, faculty of agricultural, food and environmental sciences offers professional engineering program (MSc degree) and two master programmes (MSc Agroecology, MSc Sustainable Food Systems), and carries out research and extension. The Faculty emphasizes the thrill of scientific investigation through hands-on work, with an excellence on Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Research and extension activities at ISARA are developed in four departments involving different research groups (www.isara.fr).
The Department of Agroecology and Environment involves different research and expertise on agroecology, plant science, soil science, ecology, and landscape ecology. The main research topics are agroecology, organic farming, low-input farming systems, agroecological practices, biodiversity of farms and biodiversity management, ecological corridors, water quality, and management of drinking water catchments.
The Food Sciences and Technology Department offers expertise and consulting services, vocational training, and performs research activities. Key services involve marketing, research and development of food products, implementation of food quality labels. Research activities build specifically upon microbiology and bio-processes applied to milk, meat and sourdough.
Key representatives of Isara in the SUSPLUS projects included Prof. Alexander Wezel and Dr. Helene Brives.
Alexander Wezel – an agroecologist and landscape ecologist, who dealt in the beginning of his career with various topics related to land use and resource conservation in the Tropics and Subtropics. In the last 10 years his research is focussed on analysing world-wide interpretations and definitions of agroecology and agroecological practices, as well as on different topics dealing with agroecosystems analysis and management. He particularly deals with the issues such as management of biodiversity, water quality, ecological corridors, conservation, biological control. Alexander Wezel has been working for ISARA Lyon, France, since 2006. He is presently director of the Department of Agroecology and Environment. Moreover he is the coordinator of an international master course in Agroecology. Before this he was engaged at the Universities of Hohenheim and Greifswald in Germany. He also carried out consultancies and different expertise in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Slovenia and Italy, and recently for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, Italy. He is associate editor of one of international journals and a book series. In addition, he is an active reviewer for 15 different scientific journals.
- Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche
The UNISG, founded in 2004 by the international non-profit association Slow, is a ministerially recognized, private non-profit institution. Its goal is to create an international research and education centre for those working on renewing farming methods, protecting biodiversity, and building an organic relationship between gastronomy and agricultural science. The UNISG boasts a research specialization focused on the multidisciplinarity that characterizes the gastronomic context. The methodological approach springs from the university’s founding principles, and is therefore based on the issues of sustainable food as a form of sustenance and of improvement of the planet’s human and natural conditions. UNISG’ academic research areas cover: Economics and Food Policy, Internationality and Consumption Styles, Memory and Landscape, Production and New Technologies, Environment and Health. More than 2000 students have taken courses at UNISG since it opened in 2004. UNISG offers a variety of courses leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas related to gastronomy, food culture and heritage, food journalism, farming methods, Italian food preparation, and marketing. As part of their curriculum, students go on study tours in European countries and other parts of the world.
UNISG is very active in the areas of sustainable food systems, organic food system, innovative education. It is the first university of Gastronomic Science in the world with a “farm to fork” vision and an interdisciplinary approach. The university has several didactic activities in these areas, for example:
– “Sustainable and organic agriculture” course and “Sustainability analysis of agrofood systems” at master level
– “Sustainable cropping systems” course at bachelor level of Gastronomic Science
UNISG is a member of ENOAT Network for the implementation of innovative education practices in the areas of organic agriculture and agroecology. UNISG research experience is focused on sustainable agrofood systems.
UNISG was represented in the SUSPLUS project by Assist. Prof. Paola Migliorini.
Paola Migliorini is an Assistant Professor and researcher in agronomy and crop production systems. Her major research areas are:
– Agricultural models, agro-ecosystem studies and the agroecological approach: ecological, sustainable and organic agriculture
– Sustainability evaluation with agroecological indicators: soil fertility, biodiversity, energy efficiencies
– Organic production systems and effects on products: comparison of different varieties (e.g. old and modern varieties of wheat for organic bread) and comparison of different agronomic techniques on cultivated crop (e.g. organic fertilizers, use of mycorrhizae, mechanical weeding, organic treatments)
– Long-term experiments comparing organic and conventional agriculture
She is registered in the Albo dei Dottori Agronomi e Forestali of the province of Florence and is a member of the Italian Society of Agronomy and ISOFAR (International Society of Organic Farming Research). She is also a member of the Executive Committee of IFOAM AgriBioMediterraneo (www.ifoam.com) as the coordinator of the Working Group on Research and Development in Regional IV and V Board. She has given numerous lectures on organic farming as part of Master’s degrees and IFTS training courses for technicians and farmers in Italy and abroad (USA, Spain, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Romania, Albania). She was a member of the Socio-Economic Aspects of Animal Health and Food Safety in Organic Farming Systems (SAFO) and the Network for Animal Health and Welfare in Organic Agriculture (NAHWOA) funded by the European Union’s DG Research. She has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops on organic farming at international, national and regional levels. She is the author of 50 technical and scientific publications, which have appeared in international and national journals and conference proceedings and as monographs and book chapters. At the University of Gastronomic Sciences she has participated in several interdisciplinary projects related to agricultural aspects of food at the regional, national and international level.
She is lecturing in the following courses: Sustainable crop production systems, Agrobiodiversity, Sustainable and organic agriculture. See http://www.unisg.it/en/docenti/paola-migliorini/ for more details.
- Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) is the oldest and largest technical university in Spain. It consists of twenty Schools plus two Faculties that cover most engineering disciplines as well as Architecture and Sports Science. UPM has more than 3,000 faculty members, around 38,000 undergraduate students, and around 8,000 graduate and doctoral students. About 5,000 students graduate every year from UPM. The University’s main goals are higher education and research. To achieve these goals, the Schools and Faculties deal with teaching whereas research groups (201), specialized technical centres (10), and university institutes (6) are devoted to research. UPM enjoys a high participation in EU-funded projects. In fact, it has had the highest participation among European universities in FP4, FP5 and FP6. In particular, the University performed more than 210 R&D projects within FP6 (2003-07), being the first Spanish University in number of awarded projects. As for the FP7 (2009-2013), so far UPM has been awarded with 113 R&D projects, moving UPM into the first place among Spanish universities.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid is the main Spanish University that deals with Agricultural issues. Students from all over Spain and also foreign students (mainly from Europe and Latin America) study there. Group of multidisciplinary staff involved in activities related to sustainable farming represented Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in the planned project. The main representative was prof. Teresa Briz (Department of Agricultural Economics). She teaches Agricultural Marketing and Foreign Trade; she is a specialist in the consumer aspects of the organic production and the quality of organic products, with a deep interest and achievements in the management of the sustainable food supply systems. She was actively involved in the EPOS strategic Partnership project and two LLP Leonardo da Vinci projects coordinated by prof. Rembiałkowska as well as several Intensive Programmes and other innovative educational activities.