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EIT Food COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects [Update]

06 July 2020 News, EIT Food Projects, Innovation EIT Food is investing €6.17m in a COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects. This call was open to partners and non-partners of EIT Food. As part of the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

EIT Food COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects [Update]

At EIT Food, we believe that we are all responsible for, and connected to, the food that we eat so we all need to work together to improve it. Our role is to bring all players together, and guide and accelerate the innovation process that will transform the food system. The COVID-19 crisis has placed unprecedented pressure on the global food system, calling for innovative thinking and ways of partnering to face the immediate challenges of the pandemic as well as the future recovery.

The EIT Food COVID-19 Rapid Response Call focuses on innovation projects which deliver:

  • Rapid impact: this initiative will fund activities executed until 31 December 2020. As such, the innovative solution (product, service, startup created) must be ready for launch by the end of 2020, and be on the market by end Q2 2021 at the latest.
  • Significant impact: applicants must demonstrate how the initiative will deliver both economic and societal impact, specifically addressing the COVID-19 crisis or possible future similar Pandemics.

Results of the call

Following EIT’s recent announcement on its Crisis Response Initiative, EIT Food has awarded 13 innovation projects EUR 6.17 million in total. The selected projects focus on supporting three food system challenges EIT Food is currently tackling.

Improved Nutrition

  • MeDiCo-Health (€ 238.75K), supported by the Technical University of Munich (GE) and the University of Turin (IT), will conduct research at hospitals in Italy and Germany into whether deficiencies in micronutrients such as zinc, selenium and vitamin D have a correlation with the severity of disease in COVID-19 patients.
  • SPIN (€ 410.9K) will work towards the development of a nutritional supplement based on natural ingredients and will test its ability to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The supplement will not be a replacement for SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations. This project will be carried out by University of Bologna (IT), IARFR PAS (PL), IMDEA (ES), TGD (IT), Molino Naldoni (IT) and Xeda (FR).
  • CovidX (€ 615.9K), delivered by MATIS (IS) and Algaennovation (IL), aspires to bring a food supplement based on a novel Spirulina-extract to market, providing a natural shield to high-risk population groups such as the elderly and people with severe underlying medical conditions, as well as high-exposure groups e.g. medical personnel.
  • ImmunoBoost (€ 260K), led by Queen’s University of Belfast (IE), Colruyt Group (BE) and Linwoods (IE), aims to bring better sourced food to the population, protecting against the effects of COVID-19. They will create a new product building on a newly discovered plant polysaccharide, to help consumers have a better functioning immune system.
  • Mtching COVID (€ 529.9K) will launch a platform connecting recovering COVID-19 patients with dietitians and health coaches to motivate them, follow-up and provide inspiring recipes. Partners of this project include SmartWithFood (BE), Colruyt Group (BE), Aarhus University (DK) and Eroski (ES).

Supply Chain Disruption

Food Safety Risks

  • COVICOAT (€ 485K), led by the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (PT), Eroski (ES) and 2BNanoFood (PT), aims to develop an edible antiviral coating to prevent surface contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables with COVID-19. They will then assess its performance in relation to how it may change the taste, smell and colour of food to ensure its acceptability in the consumer market.
  • PASS (€ 667K) intends to design plasma-assisted sanitation systems for packaging, equipment and tools used in the processing and handling of food products. The project’s main goal is to deactivate the COVID-19 virus and will be carried out by University of Bologna (IT), Lund University (SE) and Almaplasma (IT).
  • COVID-19 BAEMitup (€ 792K) will build a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of food industries. This project, by SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), CSIC (ES), University of Helsinki (FI) and Eurofins (FR), will contribute to the security and resilience of the European agrifood system.

EIT Food ecosystem

EIT Food is - above all else - a network, and our excellence comes from our Partners. The initiative is made up of a consortium of key industry players (multinationals, nationals and SMEs), agrifood startups, research centres and universities from across Europe.

Within our ecosystem we also work with organisations not yet part of the EIT Food consortium. Non-partners can participate in the Covid-19 Rapid Response Call by collaborating with a current EIT Food Partner (see our partners list) willing to lead the project or join an already engaged potential COVID-19 proposal consortium.