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Editorial In Touch 2: A warm welcome!

21 October 2017 - It has been only 7 weeks since I started as the director of TiFN.  I have not yet met with all the people that are at the heart of this institute. Many of you are new to me but some are familiar or even old friends. But every encounter, from informal chat to attending a PhD defence, makes me proud of this wonderful institute. It is my ambition to establish a thriving project program portfolio and secure a good future for TiFN as the most renowned organizer of public private partnerships for the food industry.

I believe TiFN has three unique assets that can make this happen:

TiFN has a proud heritage: During the 20 years of its existence hundreds of PhD’s, technicians and scientist have learned new skills in our projects. Our work resulted in even more scientific papers and patents. We gained experience in conducting excellent science with industrial relevance and our methods for organizing the work, interacting with our stakeholders, safeguarding the confidentiality and securing the IP have solidified in what we call the “TiFN way of working”.  I believe this provides a sound basis for our future success and we will have to continue to update and improve on our skills.

TiFN comes with a new strategy: In 20 years the challenges in the food industry have changed and the TiFN portfolio has changed accordingly. A new vision and a focus on Health and Nutrition, Consumer Science and Sustainability has been developed in close collaboration with our board. This strategy provides a flexible framework for challenging research programs that deliver relevant results. You can read all about this new strategy in our summer magazine.

TiFN comes with great opportunities: The national science agenda (NWA) and the economic top-sector agenda’s including Agri & Food and Life Sciences & Health will soon be implemented. They will likely spawn projects that reach out across even more scientific disciplines and industrial sectors. In my opinion this can be a perfect match with TiFN’s fully independent nature and track record in establishing successful research programs with disciplines from different academic groups and, in some projects even industrial competitors.

Almost 20 years ago I started as a project leader at TiFN (in those days called WCFS). Who would have thought that I would be in this position 20 years later! Looking back, I think my curiosity as a scientist, my optimistic nature and my creative thinking have helped me to get to this point. Looking forward, I will need at least one thing more to have success: your enthusiasm as a TiFN supporter!