The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has launched the Food Innovation, Nutrition, and Health (FINH) Program under the School of Environment, Resources, and Development (SERD) after endorsement for commencing the program in August 2020. This program offers M.Sc. (two years with first-year course work and a final year thesis option), M. Sc. (one year only course work option), Ph.D. (three and a half years including first-semester course work plus two and a half years dissertation), M. Phil. (two years with full-time thesis works) and Professional Master (one year) to cater the holistic knowledge in food science, innovation, and nutrition for a healthier and sustainable society. The program has attracted more than 150 + applications from diverse backgrounds and nationalities for admission in the very first year of its initiation. In the first cohort of the academic year 2020- 21, twelve post-graduate students (9 Masters and 3 Doctoral) have been enrolled in this academic program. The academic program is created and developed within the framework of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building- Food Processing and Innovation (FOODI) project, (reference number 598987) co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Prof. Anil Kumar Anal is the principal investigator (PI) of the project representing AIT for this project comprising a consortium of 16 Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).
About the program
The program is an outcome of an Erasmus+ higher education capacity-building project. During the project, Prof. Anil Kumar Anal, who also serves as the Principal Investigator (PI), was actively involved with curriculum development and delivery of the program. Now the FINH program of AIT focuses primarily on societal challenges and nurtures Innovation towards Sustainable Food Processing and nutritionally enhanced food production for better health. The core objective of this program is unraveling the food-health nexus. This program will develop students’ higher-level thinking skills to gain a deep understanding of the multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral nature of food safety, food security, and nutrition challenges. The program expects post-graduates to be able to identify the innovative solutions to these challenges, such as the necessity to maximize the utilization of resources and to global supply chain strategy and to integrate the food and nutrition security, food safety homogeneously in all the regions. Graduates will develop enhanced knowledge, skills, and competencies in relation to food and nutrition security, particularly in areas of innovative food product development, policy analysis and implementation in food safety, product design, implementation and management, and impact assessment. These skills will be situated in an understanding of the multi-sectoral nature of the challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition, and designer foods (Superfoods). Within the industry, graduates will work in areas such as research and development, product innovation, hygienic design, technical sales, product quality enhancement with the distinct advantage of bringing a nutrition perspective to all aspects of the food industry including product development, marketing, and sales. Within public health and regulatory agencies, graduates will work in the areas of nutrition and health promotions, food labeling regulations, and/or safety and Quality Standardization.
About the FOODI Project
The HEIs involved from ASEAN and Europe are Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), Prince of Songkla University (Thailand), University of Technology Malaysia (Malaysia), University of Malaya (Malaysia), University of Technology Mara (Malaysia), University of Kualalumpur (Malaysia), University of Heng Samrin Thbong Khmum (Cambodia), University of Battambang (Cambodia), Svay Rieng University (Cambodia), Institute of Technology Cambodia (Cambodia), University of the Aegean (Greece), ReadLab (Greece), Athens Metropolitan College (Greece), University of College Dublin (Ireland) and University of Salerno (Italy). Asian Institute of Technology is the first institute to successfully launch the MSc AND Ph.D. program in Food Innovation, Nutrition, and Health (FINH) as the initiation of the FOODI Project.
The FOODI project is initiated with a constructive approach targeted towards the academic professionals, administrative staff, higher education institutions involved in food science and technology. Approved and supported by the European Union and ERASMUS +, the project associates innovation management and food processing to enhance social and economic growth via the development of local food processing sectors. This project aims to shape and support current and future specialists in food industries at regional and international platforms. With an emphasis on research and innovation, the FOODI project aims to prioritize Food Processing and Innovation academically and at policy levels even upon its completion. FOODI has brought several Asian and EU academic institutions with reputed world rankings in collaboration. A total of 16 organizations from 3 EU countries and 4 Asian countries; along with 10 Higher Education Institution (HEI) from three partner countries (Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia), has allowed the project to cover large areas where the food industry holds major importance in the social and economic status of the country. The establishment of FOODI centers aspires to fuel and proliferate research on the global-academic community, positively impacting researchers, stakeholders, experts, industrial actors, associations, HEIs and research institute networks.
This project intends to accommodate students at local, regional, and national levels, succeeding years and years after the completion, strengthening the professionals in food science sectors. Students under the FOODI project are set out to gain substantial academic and professional expertise with internship programs. Additionally, impact on industries via continuation and growth of internship can positively co-relate both the learner and the company. An active learning opportunity is provided to students under this project, where the focus lies on Mastering Innovation and Disruptive Approach to Success (MIDAS). This approach shall connect the bridge between academics and business with encouragement for innovative ways of resolving food industry issues. The imperative blend of science and human-centric outlook will allow one to be creative in testing and applying new strategies and solutions. It also allows one to discover strengths and weaknesses via peer discussion, expose students to professional settings through internships, and finally help create an entrepreneurial mindset.