Deep Tech project aims to turn food waste into business opportunities

Thursday, August 31, 2023 - 11:15

Accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship training at higher education institutions in the fields of deep tech and the valorisation of agri-food by-products is the main objective of the new DIP4Agri project, led by the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) at the Faculty of Biotechnology of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Porto.

Edifício da ESB

Funded by the EIT's HEI Initiative: Capacity Building in Innovation for Higher Education, this project will integrate knowledge in the fields of so-called Deep Tech (which includes biotechnology, clean technologies, robotics, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning), innovation and entrepreneurship with the ultimate goal of being able to convert the problem of agri-food waste into business opportunities.

In parallel, the project will also promote a systematic transformation for effective and lasting change in higher education institutions, where existing structures and procedures will be utilised in order to achieve impactful improvements in the regional innovation ecosystem. "DIP4Agri will make it possible to accelerate the creation of value at universities, promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and technological innovation to improve the circularity of agri-food systems," says Manuela Pintado, researcher at the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF/ESB/UCP) and coordinator of the project.

DIP4Agri is part of an education programme based on deep tech and personalised content that will provide mentoring for the development of solutions to problems faced by industry, NGOs, local authorities and investors, with the aim of tackling challenges in agri-food by-products and waste, exploring knowledge transfer and fostering networking. In the long term, the project's aim will be to expand this programme so that it can become a European benchmark for supporting science and technology-based start-ups in the agri-food sector. To this end, the project will start a 60-hour training programme on 15 September to support and foster entrepreneurship in Deep Tech areas, entitled Deep Tech for Innovators.

This project is part of a consortium that also involves Aahrus University in Denmark; Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands; the Portuguese companies Food4Sustainability; Planicie Verde Sociedade Agricola Lda and BGI - Building Global Innovators; Cortijo Guadiana S (Spain); Vereniging FME (Netherlands) and Food & Bio Cluster Denmark (Denmark).

The DIP4Agri project will run until December 2023 and is funded by the EIT's HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education, the aim of which is to increase the entrepreneurial and innovation capacity of HEI across Europe through the integration of deep techs.