EIT Food Summer School on New Product Development was an international event that brought together over 40 participants from different backgrounds and countries, who came to gain knowledge of the tools, techniques, and methodologies used in the process of new product development in the food industry. After five days of not only listening, but also experiencing the practical application of these tools and techniques in a simulated environment, the participants are ready to initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control the projects aimed at the development and marketing of new products and services, as well as to introduce innovations to the market in the food industry.
Summer School on NPD in the light of the pandemic
Summer School on New Product Development is a project that has been successfully involving professionals from RIS countries working in the food industry since 2018. It is run by the University of Warsaw (the leader of the project consortium), Technical University of Lausanne (EPFL), Israeli Technical University Technion, EIT Food RisingFoodStars, PepsiCo, Elea and BeYou.
This year, due to the current pandemic situation caused by the spread of COVID-19 disease, it was organized online and took place on 24-28 August 2020. However, this has not prevented the organisation of fully-fledged and unique workshops. All project partners have made every effort to ensure that the planned workshops, despite their virtual form, were carried out at the highest possible level and were best adapted to the needs of participants. Each day of the training allowed the participants to gain new knowledge on the development of new products in the food sector, as well as a provided them with a unique opportunity to exchange their own experience with experts from the industry and other participants.
Topics and methodology of the trainings
The workshops were based on an innovative approach to teaching and learning and included interactive trainings, involving project tasks, computer simulations, sensory evaluations, virtual tours, video case studies and interviews, live food processing sessions, interactive teaching materials and case study analysis from the food sector. The summer school programme was jointly prepared by partners from academia and industry, which allowed to share knowledge about the management of R&D projects in companies, development of new products and their effective commercialisation based on the experience of European agri-food sector companies, presented from different perspectives.
The training consisted of five intensive days and covered the following topics:
- Innovation through Design Thinking
- Food Product Design & case studies
- Simulation based training on Project Management
- New Product Development in PepsiCo
Every day of the training, the participants also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from start-ups from the food industry, who shared their experiences, successes, and difficulties in developing new products and running business.
Teamwork, numerous discussions, practical tasks, the participation of start-ups, exceptional participants with great experience and enthusiasm to work and extraordinary partners, experts and speakers who have contributed with the greatest care to the preparation of the summer school, complementing each other, made this year's edition of the summer school really special and unique!
What do the participants say?
It was perfectly organized and I had the opportunity to learn new things in the field of NPD and meet new and interesting people. It was an amazing and unique experience under this difficult and unprecendented situation.
I want to thank you all again because it was one of the most interactive, involving and interesting school I’ve ever attended.
Thank you for an extraordinary opportunity - participation in the EIT Food Summer school. (...) The organizing committee did its job more than excellently. The technique was a challenge, but everything went very relaxed, pleasant, friendly.