New research centres opened at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo

New research centres opened at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo

On 31 May, Maastricht University, Brightlands and the Limburg Provincial Government opened new and high-end laboratories on Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. At the same time, two new research centres were launched: the Food Claims Centre Venlo (FCCV) and the Centre for Healthy Eating & Food Innovation (HEFI). Joost van den Akker, member of the Provincial Executive, researchers from University College Venlo and Jan Klerken, CEO of Scelta Mushrooms, spoke about the newest collaboration between science and business on the campus in Venlo. The new laboratories are not only greatly important for students and researchers, but also for trade and industry because they will benefit from knowledge about healthy food. Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo closely collaborates with small and medium-sized enterprises in the region and is one of the Brightlands Campuses.

Collaboration business and science
On Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo business and science collaborate on three themes: safe and healthy food, future farming and bio economy. Saskia Goetgeluk, director of the campus: “For a successful campus, laboratories such as the HEFI are a must. Because companies ask for the application of available knowledge and it leads to new questions they can ask the researchers. The threshold is low and now that the labs are also physically on campus, companies can easily drop by with their questions.” Jan Klerken, CEO of Scelta Mushrooms, works together with researchers on campus and spoke about this cooperation at the opening: “My motto is dare to share and together with the Brightlands campus, Maastricht University and other entrepreneurs, as a company we are capable to develop en realize new plans.”

Evidence about food claims
The Food Claims Centre Venlo conducts research into health and safety of food. Not only because consumers increasingly demand more information about the food they consume, but with ever increasing European regulations such scientific evidence is required before new claims (healthy, light, sugar free, etc.) or new products can be presented to the consumer. Dr. Alie de Boer is the head of the FCCV: “With this centre in Venlo we established something unique. It is the first place where combined scientific research is conducted into developments in the food industry in relation to food law. Scientific evidence is always our starting point. Everyone claims to know something about nutrition. Sugars are bad, vegetables are good. Is that correct? Let’s first prove it scientifically, and then the legal check follows.”

Effects of food on health
The Centre for Healthy Eating and Food Innovation (HEFI) is focused on the promotion of healthy eating by researching the effects of food on human health, developing innovative, healthy food products and advancing the promotion of healthy dietary habits. Dr. Freddy Troost leads the HEFI: “Here, in the heart of the largest agro area in Europe, we develop knowledge together with other educational institutions and ambitious entrepreneurs. We work on concrete applications for science, develop new products, and contribute to better and healthier food.”

Together for the (Eu)region
In their speeches, Joost van den Akker, member of the Provincial Executive, and dr. Nick Bos, member of the Maastricht University Executive Board, once again confirmed the importance of the Brightlands campuses for the region. Nick Bos: “Here, in Venlo, but also on the other three campuses, we focus on core themes that link the region’s economic strengths with university research teams and education programmes. With Brightlands we form the basis for a Euregion with a vital, healthy, mobile and well-educated population with sufficient highly skilled workers.” Joost van den Akker called the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo a network campus: “No high-quality research facilities with a fence around them, but an open setting where scientists from inside and outside the campus constantly meet. Together they strengthen the economy of this region and make it future proof. This campus excels and accelerates, just as the other three Brightlands campuses. That deserves congratulations to Maastricht University, to the campus, to the Venlo region, to Brightlands and to Limburg.”


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