Agrifood projects awarded €6.17 million by EIT COVID-19 Innovation Fund
The COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation was launched in May 2020 to find solutions to COVID-19 challenges being experienced in the agrifood sector, and the initiatives have now been selected.
The European Institute of Innovation & Technology’s food division (EIT Food) has announced the final list of initiatives that will be awarded €6.17 million of funding as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects. The Call was designed to fast-track product or service solutions that could have a significant and immediate impact to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 on the agrifood sector.
The funding is being awarded to 13 projects in total, made up from consortia representing 52 global organisations. Lead organisations include the Technical University of Munich (TUM) from Germany, Wasteless from Israel and Queen’s University Belfast from Northern Ireland.
The COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation focuses on supporting three food system specific challenges that EIT Food is currently tackling:
Improved Nutrition (€2.05 million awarded to five projects)
- MediCo-Health, a project supported by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) from Germany and UNITO (University of Turin) from Italy, has been awarded €238,750 of funds to conduct research at hospitals in Italy and Germany into whether deficiencies in micronutrients such as zinc, selenium and vitamin D have a correlation with the severity of disease in COVID-19 patients. The aim is then to test tailored supplementation in placebo-controlled trials to see if they can improve patient outcomes
- Other projects that have been awarded funds in the Improved Nutrition category are: ImmunoBoost, CovidX, SPINand Mtching COVID.
Supply Chain Disruption (€2.18 million awarded to five projects)
- FRIENDS Reduce Food Waste, by Wasteless from Israel and NX-Food from Germany, aims to implement the usage of dynamic pricing technology to reduce food waste by up to 40 percent, ensure smoother supply of perishable goods and bring fairer prices to consumers in 40 branches of a German supermarket chain. The project has been awarded €702,500
- Other projects that have been awarded funds in the Supply Chain Disruption category are: Robin Food, Smart-ET, Safelivery and Healthtricious.
Food Safety Risks (€1.94 million awarded to three projects)
- COVICOAT, a project by INL (International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory) from Portugal, Eroski (a Spanish supermarket chain) and 2BNanoFood from Portugal has been awarded €485,000 of funds to develop an edible antiviral coating containing active herbal extracts to prevent COVID-19 surface contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. They will then assess its performance in relation to how it may change the taste, smell and colour of food to ensure its acceptability in the consumer market
- Other projects that have been awarded funds in the Food Safety Risks category are: COVID19 BAEMitupand PASS.
Dr. Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food, said: “An impressive number of high-quality applications were assessed as part of EIT Food’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation, and we are very pleased with the final 13 that were chosen. They demonstrate the ingenuity and dedication of the agritech community in a time of great uncertainty and disruption, and we are as committed as ever before to supporting their resilience – as well as that of the wider European Food System. We look forward to the implementation of these urgently needed innovations to help the sector collectively respond to the pandemic and rebuild our economy sustainably.”