Foodvalley Innovation Insights

Save the date | Foodvalley Innovation Insights

The next Innovation Insights event, exclusively for our Foodvalley Partners, will be held on 27 September, 2022 from 9.00 - 10.30. Programme and registration for our Foodvalley partners will follow soon.

Business Innovation Program Food Supporting Dutch Entrepreneurs in Developing their Skills to Accelerate

Booster 2021 winner ‘Ready to (h)eat meals tailored to gut, genes and guidelines’ ready for take off

Booster award 2021 was an incentive for initiatives that support the reduction and prevention of obesity employing personalized nutrition tools. The objective of the Booster 2021 was to surface ideas for partnerships within the Food Innovation Hub Europe. Candidates are multi-partner initiatives that submitted ideas, activities, and offerings in the field of obesity reduction. One of the 2021 winners is Ready to (h)eat meals. Meals tailored to gut, genes, and guidelines. “With the booster we are able to pioneer in the field of personalised nutrition, which brings us valuable information for future applications.” The Booster 2021 is developed by Foodvalley NL to accelerate the food transition and is powered by Food Innovation Hub Europe.

Ready to (h)eat meals tailored to gut, genes and guidelines is an initiative that will create a one-stop shop to order your personalised meals. The meals are in line with your personal nutrition recommendations and based on your microbiome, DNA and personal preferences and needs. In addition, it will engage people in an entertaining and educational experience. It is a multi-partner initiative of Foodvalley NL partners Verdify and Eatch as well as Omnigen, MyMicroZoo and University of Antwerp.

Ready to (h)eat meals tailored to gut, genes and guidelines is an initiative that will create a one-stop shop to order your personalised meals. The meals are in line with your personal nutrition recommendations and based on your microbiome, DNA and personal preferences and needs. In addition, it will engage people in an entertaining and educational experience. It is a multi-partner initiative of Foodvalley NL partners Verdify and Eatch as well as Omnigen, MyMicroZoo and University of Antwerp.

Ready for take-off

The first six persons have signed up to participate in a fully-personalised nutrition program. The aim is to lower barriers for healthy eating and obtain proof of concept for the approach. Step one of the experience is to collect samples for DNA- and gut microbiome analysis. With the results the participants can create a personal nutrition profile that enables them to get recipes that are fully tailored to their nutrition requirements and taste preferences. For a period of four weeks, the participants will be encouraged to eat according to the personalised recipe suggestions. In the last week, they will also receive freshly-made meals at home, created by an automated kitchen. After this period, another gut microbiome sample will be taken to evaluate potential changes. The impact on barriers for healthy eating of the personalised nutrition program will be determined as well.

All participants are under supervision of a dietitian or nutrition expert. If this is also something you want to offer your clients, we still have two spots available for dietitians or nutrition experts who want to collaborate on this program. A leaflet with more information for the participants can be found here. In case you have questions, remarks, or want to collaborate as a dietitian or nutrition expert, please reach out to jennifer@verdifood.com.

Edition 2022: Personalised Nutrition for all Challenge

The 2022 edition is called “Personalised nutrition for all”. Again, it is a call to action to find innovative solutions to reduce obesity and malnutrition in Europe. This year, six winners will be awarded €30,000 to further develop their solution, opening the possibility for further funding by EIT Food and go to market. Multi-stakeholder groups are invited to submit their Personalised Nutrition ideas. Winners will be announced on 14 October, in advance of World Food Day.

Business Innovation Program Food Supporting Dutch Entrepreneurs in Developing their Skills to Accelerate

Supporting Dutch entrepreneurs in developing their skills to accelerate

Every step of an entrepreneur’s journey is a step into the unknown. Having access to valuable resources and unique facilities, communities of peers, coaches and capital is crucial in converting innovative ideas into scaling businesses. Foodvalley NL’s objective is to help entrepreneurs get access to whatever they need in order to become successful and accelerate their innovations.

Foodvalley NL partnered with the ‘Landelijke ROM’s’ and their Business Innovation Program Food (BIP Food). Dutch (also non-tech) innovative companies and companies with innovative business ideas can apply. So SME’s (MKB) with innovative ideas as well.

Foodvalley NL partnered up with BIP Food

With supporting the BIP Food start-ups and/or SME’s can sharpen their focus on promising ideas and how to translate them into concrete new revenue models. These innovative companies are active in the agro-food sector in the broadest sense. These include agriculture and horticulture, the food processing industry, data and technology companies and (logistics) service providers.

Calling all innovative entrepreneurs (start-up and SME)

In 10 sessions, entrepreneurs are trained to engage with customers, develop products, strengthen impact, build a business model, create a team and enhance collaborations.

The Business Innovation Program Food also facilitates interactive sessions for entrepreneurs to translate theory into practice. They receive practical assignments and are coached, one-on-one, by business developers from the relevant Regional Development Agency (Regionale Ontwikkelings Maatschappij).

Practical information

  • The programme starts on 7 September 2022 and ends in mid-November 2022.
  • Are you thinking of participating? Discover during the free introductory workshop on 29 June 2022 whether the programme adds value for your company. Send an e-mail to register
  • Participation in the programme is free of charge, but a lot is expected of you.
  • The meetings take place every week on Wednesday morning.
  • Are you enthusiastic and do you have a good feeling about the programme? Register now for the Business Innovation Program Food.
  • More info: Business Innovation Program Food | Oost NL (in Dutch)

Foodvalley Partner event 2022

Save the date | Partner event 3 November 2022

Foodvalley NL would like to invite you to our exclusively Foodvalley Partner event on 3 November 2022 from 16.00 – 19.00 CEST at our office in Wageningen.

The aim of the event is to explore Foodvalley’s network in its full scope, with all our communities and network partners. This day will focus on connection, innovation and match-making. We will also celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Protein Community together with all Foodvalley partners!

Explore and connect with Foodvalley’s network and save the date 3 November 2022 in your agenda. Information about the programme will follow soon.

* Please note: this event is exclusively for Foodvalley Partners. Are you not a partner yet but would you like to join this event? Contact us at: partner@foodvalley.nl

This catering embraces plant-based proteins

This catering embraces plant-based proteins

Foodvalley Podcast 5 | Hutten

In the fifth episode of this podcast series, Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead for the protein shift at Foodvalley NL, meets Drees Peter van den Bosch in his family house in Lopik. Drees has had a long career in the foodservice industry and is ambitious to contribute to the protein shift in his current role as CEO of Hutten catering. Jeroen and Drees discuss challenges, possibilities and the need for a pro-active government role.

Listen to the podcast (in Dutch)

Drees en Jeroen on…

…the strength of short chains
“It’s easier and faster to work sustainably when the food chain is short and we mostly work with local farmers and partners. It makes it much easier to experiment together and develop a shared view of what our shared future should and can look like.”

…challenges and taxes
“The challenges we face over the next ten years are too big to be able do deal with, without the contribution of lawmakers. Big players, like Hutten, other catering companies and retailers for example, have to direct the consumers more actively towards sustainable alternatives. By presenting them with less choices for example and make the healthier and more sustainable ones more attractive. This requires government policies that help promote healthier choices like lowering the tax on fruit and vegetables.”

…an active government
“It’s inevitable that we’ll move towards a more sustainable agricultural system and we need a healthy perspective for our farmers to continue their businesses. I miss vigor and a sense of urgency with our government. We all know what the future holds and what needs to be done. And it will be a tough and painful process. But the longer we wait, the more it will hurt.”

…the EatLancet menu
“The EatLancet menu is a study that has calculated what it takes to supply the growing world population with an healthy and sustainable diet. At Hutten Catering, we have made this menu the central point to all our operations. Our experience is that if we take the time to develop great recipes and make sure the presentation of our products is excellent, our guests will make the switch to this diet without problems. Within one, maybe two months, everyone will have developed new and healthier habits.”

…a greener deal
“The Green Deal on crops that are high in protein can be a game changer for our industry and we are willing to commit to ambitious goals. We strive to add more value to the food chain than we take from it by 2030, and the Green Deal that Jeroen and Foodvalley NL are working on will help us all move forwards.”

Please note: this serie is Dutch spoken. Also available on Spotify and Anchor.

Questions? Get in touch

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Shift
+31 6 177 380 37

About the podcast: 20 years of protein transition in the Netherlands

Listen to candid conversations with Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation lead Protein Shift, and professionals about the protein transition. What developments has the protein transition made in recent years? Where are we now? And what will be the position of plant proteins in the future?

Protein farmers join forces for better position in agrifood chain

Protein farmers join forces for better position in agrifood chain

Lupin, field bean, soybean, chickpea: these are just some examples of leguminous crops that are particularly rich in protein. Moreover, they bind nitrogen. By growing them on Dutch soil, they make an important contribution to the protein transition and sustainability of agriculture. The farmers’ desire is present, but they are encountering hurdles. Therefore Foodvalley NL helped the farmers to unite in a Producers Organisation (PO).

A fair price for a valuable product

“It cannot be the case that all partners in the supply chain profit from plant protein-rich products except the farmer himself,” says farmer Henk Janknegt, brand-new chairman of the PO Dutch Protein Farmers, officially established on 8 June 2022. The farmer saw interest in plant proteins grow and therefore included field beans in his crop rotation plan. “With success: the second year a good harvest followed. My field beans were processed into veg burgers, which were on the shelves of a large supermarket chain. Then the frustration set in. Transporters, processors and supermarkets were making good money, while I was paying for all the costs and even had to pay extra. I had two options: stop or try to fundamentally change the system.”

Farmers must tell their story

As a board member of the Dutch Agriculture Farming Association, Janknegt got to know Jeroen Willemsen of Foodvalley NL. Willemsen quickly saw where the shoe pinches: “Of the price that consumers pay for their veg burger, only a maximum of 5% goes to the farmer. The margin distribution throughout the chain must be more fair. In addition, more consumer appreciation is needed: a consumer study by Foodvalley NL at the end of 2021 showed that more and more consumers are willing to pay extra for home-produced meat or cheese, but are not yet sufficiently aware of plant protein-rich products made in the Netherlands.”

Henk Janknegt: “Foodvalley NL gave us the insight that we as farmers must tell our story: to the retail sector, but also to the consumer. We have to show that Dutch cultivation of protein-rich crops has a positive impact. We contribute to agrobiodiversity; help solve the nitrogen problem; make agriculture more sustainable, contribute to the protein transition and to making our country more protein self-sufficient. In these times of raw material scarcity, this is important. By joining forces, we can achieve a better economic position. Foodvalley NL therefore suggested setting up a PO and brought us in contact with the right people to realise this.”

Cooperation is the strength of a PO

“When a farmer has to negotiate on his own with a much larger buyer, he is in a much weaker position. That is why European agricultural law allows farmers to organise themselves,” explains Maria Litjens. Maria is an expert in agricultural law and obtained her PhD in 2018 on the topic of Producer Organisations. “A PO, recognised by the national government, offers farmers a lot of opportunities. For example, they can match supply to demand, optimise production costs and cooperate in marketing. Because agricultural law takes precedence over competition law, they are even allowed to make price agreements. Of course, that only works if the members comply with it. Cooperation is the strength of a PO,” says Maria.

That cooperation pays off, confirms André Jurrius, owner of Ekoboerderij de Lingehof. As co-founder of LekkerLupine, Jurrius is also closely involved in the establishment of the PO Dutch Protein Farmers. André: ” Lupin farmers were pioneering separately. We sensed potential, but were unable to seize it. Thanks to LekkerLupine, 15 farmers are now working together on product development and marketing the lupin bean. As a PO you are even stronger. That is why the lupin farmers also joined the Dutch Protein Farmers.”

The same applies to Anna van der Bijl. Together with her husband Peter, she is experimenting with growing chickpeas. “Although the chickpea is not unknown here, the cultivation is completely new in the Netherlands. That makes it exciting. For example, you don’t know how many hours of sunshine are needed, or how to deal with weeds. Sharing knowledge and experience is therefore very valuable. If our experiment succeeds, we want to scale up. That’s when you also want a realistic price for your product. Thanks to the PO, farmers can support each other,” says Anna.

Committed to protein crops from our own soil

Foodvalley’s Innovation Leads Jeroen Willemsen (Protein Shift) and Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel (Circular Agrifood) initiated the Dutch Protein Farmers. Early 2021, Foodvalley NL – in cooperation with Ekoboerderij de Lingehof, Proeflab Wageningen and the Taskforce Korte Keten – brought together the first protein farmers. “Foodvalley NL is committed to a future-proof food system. It is our role to turn challenges into actions. In the cultivation of leguminous protein crops, sustainable agriculture and protein transition go hand in hand,” says Jeroen. Colleague Jolijn adds: “Food security, continuity and local production are current topics. To make agriculture more sustainable, you need ecologically and economically sustainable production. It is no longer self-evident to get raw materials from far away. It is in the interest of all chain partners to offer farmers continuity with local production. I am therefore honoured that we can commit ourselves from Foodvalley NL to protein crops from our own soil.”

Questions? Get in touch

Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel
Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood
+31 6 82096140

Questions? Get in touch

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Shift
+31 6 177 380 37

Join us: together we are strong

Are you already a protein farmer or do you want to start growing protein crops? The PO Dutch Protein Farmers dedicates itself to a healthier earnings model for the cultivation of high-protein crops and shares experiences about practical sowing, cultivation and harvesting. The PO also acts as a discussion partner for the authorities. Join us now, together we can strengthen our economic position in the plant protein chain.

Dutch Protein Farmer

Dutch Protein Farmers: more homegrown plant proteins

The Producer Organisation Dutch Protein Farmers, founded by the ‘Nederlandse Akkerbouw Vereniging’ (Dutch Agriculture Association) and initiated by Foodvalley NL, is the first producer organisation of and for farmers of protein crops. Both organic and conventional farmers are welcome; farmers who already cultivate or want to cultivate protein crops, from Faba bean to lupine, from soy to chickpea. Together, they want to achieve sustainable and profitable protein cultivation, with fair prices for farmers.

The market for protein crops must change

For human consumption, and especially for animal feed, many protein-rich raw materials are transported from far away. For example, from Canada, South America, Russia or Ukraine. This can and must change according to the Dutch Protein Farmers. Farmers, processors, supermarkets, caterers, consumers and the national government can all benefit from Dutch leguminous protein crops. This will make us less dependent on imports, which contributes to the Dutch Protein Strategy. The Dutch Protein Farmers also contribute to more sustainable agriculture, a healthier soil and solving climate and nitrogen problems. To achieve this, the market for protein crops has to change drastically.

Combining forces

In order to achieve this, the Dutch Protein Farmers combines knowledge and strengths of farmers of leguminous protein crops. Through their cooperation, they have a stronger negotiating position and can obtain better contract conditions and prices. They are interesting for large buyers and end suppliers such as supermarkets and caterers; by working together, farmers can supply a larger volume of plant proteins.

Sharing experiences

Members also share practical sowing, growing and harvesting experiences and draw up a research agenda for the coming years. In this role, the Producer Organisation is also involved as a partner in the forthcoming Green Deal on Protein-rich Crops.

"We need our protein farmers to become less dependent on the import of plant proteins" - Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, initiator of the Dutch Protein Farmers

Developments & News

Committed to protein crops from our own soil

Foodvalley’s Innovation Leads Jeroen Willemsen (Protein Shift) and Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel (Circular Agrifood) initiated the Dutch Protein Farmers. Early 2021, Foodvalley NL – in cooperation with Ekoboerderij de Lingehof, Proeflab Wageningen and the Taskforce Korte Keten – brought together the first protein farmers. “Foodvalley NL is committed to a future-proof food system. It is our role to turn challenges into actions. In the cultivation of leguminous protein crops, sustainable agriculture and protein transition go hand in hand,” says Jeroen. Colleague Jolijn adds: “Food security, continuity and local production are current topics. To make agriculture more sustainable, you need ecologically and economically sustainable production. It is no longer self-evident to get raw materials from far away. It is in the interest of all chain partners to offer farmers continuity with local production. I am therefore honoured that we can commit ourselves from Foodvalley NL to protein crops from our own soil.”

Increasing local availability and consumption of plant-based proteins has the added benefits of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen runoff reduction and increased biodiversity. It will help create the right balance between animal and plant proteins and contributes to the growth of new sustainable crops that adds to regenerative circular agriculture. That is what Foodvalley NL is committed to.

Questions? Contact us!

Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood (left)
Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead, Protein Shift (right)

Foodvalley initiated the foundation of the Dutch Protein Farmers producer organisation.

Foodvalley initiated the foundation of the Dutch Protein Farmers producer organisation.

On Friday 6 May 2022, the producer organisation (PO) Dutch Protein Farmers was founded by the ‘Nederlandse Akkerbouw Vereniging (NAV) (Dutch Arable Farming Union) and registered with the Chamber of Commerce, initiated by Foodvalley NL. The PO is committed to the profitable cultivation of protein-rich crops from their own soil with a fair earning model. At the start the PO consists of 29 growers of different leguminous protein crops.

The PO Dutch Protein Farmers is the first producer organisation of and for growers of protein crops. Both organic and conventional farmers are welcome; growers who already cultivate or want to cultivate protein crops, from field bean to lupin, from soy to chickpea. The main objective is to achieve sustainable and profitable protein cultivation together, with an earnings model and fair prices for farmers.

Import from far away must change

For human consumption and, in particular, for animal feed, many protein-rich raw materials are imported from far away. For example, from Canada, South America, Russia or Ukraine. This can and must change according to the PO Dutch Protein Farmers. Farmers, processors, supermarkets, caterers, consumers and the national government can all benefit from Dutch leguminous protein crops. This way, we become less dependent on imports and contribute to the goal of the Dutch Protein Strategy, a more sustainable agriculture, a healthier soil and solving the climate and nitrogen problem. To achieve this, the market for protein crops must change drastically.

Cooperation

Early in 2021, Foodvalley NL, together with Ekoboerderij de Lingehof, Proeflab Wageningen and the Taskforce Korte Keten, brought together the first protein farmers. This led to cooperation with NAV and now to the establishment of the PO Dutch Protein Farmers. The PO combines the knowledge and strengths of growers of leguminous protein crops. Through their cooperation they have a stronger negotiating position and can obtain better contract conditions and prices. The organisation is also interesting for large buyers and end suppliers such as supermarkets and caterers; by working together growers can supply a larger volume of protein crops.

Share experience and research

In addition, the members of PO Dutch Protein Farmers share practical sowing, growing and harvesting experiences and draw up a research agenda for the coming years. In this role, the PO is also involved as a partner in the forthcoming Green Deal on Protein-rich Crops.

Tell the story

Finally, the members of PO Protein Farmers of the Netherlands tell the story of the Dutch leguminous protein crops. The consumer study ‘Homegrown Proteins‘ (2021, in Dutch) revealed that few Dutch consumers know the value of leguminous plants. Which will result in healthier soil, greater biodiversity and a more sustainable, circular agriculture. Everyone needs to know this in order to make a conscious choice for products with home-grown plant proteins.

Appeal to farmers

The Protein Farmers of the Netherlands organises its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, 8 June 2022 from 14.30 to 17.30 hours, at the Ekoboerderij de Lingehof in Randwijk. Among other things, the board will be elected and the policy determined. Are you or do you know a Dutch grower who would like to attend the inaugural meeting? Register via www.eiwitboeren.nl

Foodvalley NL supports the Protein Farmers of the Netherlands

Innovation leads Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel and Jeroen Willemsen from Foodvalley NL initiated and support the Protein Farmers of the Netherlands who want to realise a fairer price, a better position in the value chain, more knowledge exchange and central coordination of research.

Increasing local availability and consumption of plant-based proteins has the added benefits of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen runoff reduction and increased biodiversity. It will help create the right balance between animal and plant proteins and contributes to the growth of new sustainable crops that adds to regenerative circular agriculture. That is what Foodvalley NL is committed to.

Questions? Get in touch

Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel
Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood
+31 6 82096140

Questions? Get in touch

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Shift
+31 6 177 380 37

Connecting worlds with soy milk

Connecting worlds with soy milk

Foodvalley Podcast 4 | De Nieuwe Melkboer

In the fourth episode of this podcast series, Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead for the protein shift at Foodvalley NL, meets Bart and Tom Grobben, just outside the Dutch city of Enschede. These two young brothers are (partly) transforming the family dairy farm into a plant based dairy farm. With their brand De Nieuwe Melkboer (the new milkman) they produce high quality dairy products made from soy. Jeroen, Bart and Tom discuss obstacles and policies that need to be removed and the strengths of locally sourced plant-based dairy.

Listen to the podcast (in Dutch)

Bart, Tom and Jeroen on…

……connecting worlds
Bart: “During our study, we lived in a big city in the west of The Netherlands. We noticed that the younger generations in our neighbourhood were looking for plant-based alternatives for traditional dairy products. New coffee bars and breakfast places that offered plenty of plant-based dairy were opening almost on a daily basis. With our background as traditional dairy farmers, we realised an opportunity presented itself to connect two worlds. We wanted to build the bridge between farmers and consumers, vegetarians and carnivores and between generations by developing quality plant-based dairy.”

…problems and possibilities
Bart: “It’s too easy to hide some of the less sustainable aspects of certain crops and products in a global economy. Local crops stimulate transparency. And yes, that might be a little more expensive. But I am confident consumers that travel from Amsterdam to Enschede and see the soy grow in these fields, the soy that will end up in their plant based latté, will gladly pay a little extra for that experience and the transparency.”

…policies and politics
Jeroen: “In 1992 Europe traded off its trade protection for crops that were high in protein for easier access to the North- and South-American financial markets for banks and investors. That effectively destroyed the internal market for these crops from Europe. We immediately started importing cheap products from across the Atlantic and as a result we now import eighty percent of our plant based proteins from outside of Europe.”

Tom: “It would help if some policies change in order to make it easier for Dutch farmers to experiment and diversify. Currently, we are required to grow grass on eighty percent of our land because of the fact that we also have herd of cows. The remaining twenty percent is almost automatically needed to grow corn, because it is such a reliable crop. If it were allowed to use some of the remaining eighty percent a little differently, it would be much easier to experiment with new crops.”

…commitment and vision
Jeroen: “I am amazed by the entrepreneurship of producers like Bart and Tom even before there is a serious market for their products. Unfortunately, I am equally amazed by the time it took our national government to realise that the protein shift costs money in the short term, but that this concerns a profitable change in the long run. In time, these initiatives will result in a healthier climate, healthier people and a healthier economy. I am glad to see the government finally taking the first careful steps to support the protein shift right now though. Better late than never.”

“Of course, another important factor is the consumer. We spend eight percent of our income on food in the Netherlands. A historically low percentage. This suggests to me that there should be possibilities to appreciate health and sustainability a little bit more as consumers. But it is important to explain the choices we make and the impact those choices have.”

Please note: this serie is Dutch spoken. Also available on Spotify and Anchor.

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Shift
+31 6 177 380 37

About the podcast: 20 years of protein transition in the Netherlands

Listen to candid conversations with Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation lead Protein Shift, and professionals about the protein transition. What developments has the protein transition made in recent years? Where are we now? And what will be the position of plant proteins in the future?

New shared facility for faster and more efficient protein selection: Robolector

New shared facility for faster and more efficient protein selection: the Robolector

There is a high demand for alternative proteins due to the protein transition. The Robolector, a new type of fermenter, enables companies and institutes to accelerate the protein selection more efficient and faster. In cooperation with Foodvalley NL and with a subsidy from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, this equipment was purchased by Wageningen University and Research. The device is located at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

This technology can be used to develop proteins from fungi and is available for shared use by other companies and institutions. With Robolector with samples can be taken automatically, even at night, which means an enormous increase in efficiency during research projects. Normally, the process of selecting the best strains takes up to twenty weeks; with the help of the Robolector, we can see more quickly which strain is the best and which process conditions work best’, says Martijn Bekker, researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.

More possible through shared use

The device is set up at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Pascal van Alphen, head of the fermentation research department at GINKGO Bioworks Netherlands explains: ‘To make proteins using fungi, especially for the food industry, GINKGO Bioworks was in dire need of purchasing the Robolector. However, as an organisation we did not have the means to purchase the device on our own. Foodvalley NL and WUR helped us bring together various interested parties. Through shared use of this technology and with financial support from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, the Robolector could be purchased. The aim of this Regio Deal is to stimulate cooperation and activity in the field of sustainability. And so, the various interests came together perfectly.’

Chance of success significantly higher

Martijn Bekker says: ‘This device will enable us to better develop fundamental knowledge, which will allow us to participate at a higher level in academic EU projects. We can also start a process faster for public-private research. So, we will soon have more to offer, also to companies. The process can then be fully outsourced to us. As an example, he mentions the WUR project Plentitude, in which fungal protein is being developed. This can now be quickly optimised with the Robolector.

In research, and therefore also in cooperation with companies, there is always a risk that no results will be achieved. Cornelis Mijnders, who focuses on business development at GINKGO Bioworks, says that the Robolector increases the chances of success. ‘I think that is the most important thing about this purchase. Whether it is used for a customer or for a research project: it is easier to convince that you are going to be successful through the more effective selection process.’

Cooperation and knowledge exchange

All parties involved are open to mutual sharing of knowledge and experience; GINKGO Bioworks, Wageningen University & Research, Foodvalley NL and the Biology Department of Utrecht University (UU). The exchange of knowledge can also be continued with future users. That is the great advantage of the agreements made on shared use. Of course, the most sensitive matters cannot be shared, but the knowledge about the device can. The common driving force is the realisation of the protein transition.

Mijnders sees many opportunities in the cooperation. ‘Thanks to the Robolector we meet each other. I see possibilities, such as applying for subsidies for (EU) projects. And for us it is good if we can use the expertise of the universities, so that we can be more effective towards our customers.’ Mijnders also believes it is important for students to gain experience in a company. ‘We also see a responsibility for ourselves in this: to bring young people to the market well prepared from the outset.’

Shared Facility Finder

With Shared Facility Finder you have a wide range of top-class innovation facilities available at your fingertips. Find and share research equipment, facilities and technologies. Connect with partners and co-investors and explore available funding. Maximize productivity by sharing and using facilities and research and test your innovations before launching them on the market. Shared Facility Finder, an initiative of Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research.

Interested in:

  • Using the Robolector for a faster and more efficient protein selection? Please contact facilities@foodvalley.nl.
  • Funding opportunities to purchase an innovation facility? Please see the current available subsidies. Need advice? Please feel free to contact us via facilities@foodvalley.nl
  • Sharing your innovation facility or find other facilities? Please visit our website.

Questions? Get in touch

Petra Roubos
+31 (0)317 48 79 91

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