On 12, 13 and 14 September 2022, the 28 project partner organisations composing TITAN met in Brussels for the Kick-off Meeting. With a time horizon of four years, TITAN aims to transform the food system through multiple activities and the Brussels meeting laid the foundation for internal collaboration within the consortium.
Several external speakers were invited during the meeting. The Project and Policy Officers of the Research Executive Agency, Daniela Lueth and Francisca Cuesta Sanchez, represented the consortium’s contractual obligations towards the European Commission. Michele Dubbini from the European IP Helpdesk also explained the opportunities of the Horizon IP Scan Service for SMEs in the consortium.
The meeting was introduced by a keynote speech by Professor Roberta Sonnino from the University of Surrey, focusing on the Food System transformation, defined as a democratic process that needs to involve different communities and experiences according to a holistic and interconnected approach. Edward Sliwinski, TITAN project architect and Communication Leader, then explained the spirit and goals of the project, defining as a perfect outcome the possibility of each partner being committed in the pursuit of the project goals.
The kick-off meeting was moderated and facilitated by Isabelle Guelinckx, Scientific Programme Director of ILSI Europe, and TITAN project coordinator, able in presenting the project, facilitating connections between the partners, and ensuring that each organisation had proper time to present its role in the project, the planned activities, specific objectives and expected outcomes.
This was also facilitated by a Hopes & Fears exercise, where participants, divided into 5 groups, had the opportunity to identify possible common strategies.
Each WP Leader presented his or her Work Package to the audience of participants, indicating specific objectives, the organisations involved and the programme of activities for the next 4 years.
Through the SME Pitch sessions, all the organisations present had the opportunity to present themselves and their activities. In particular, SMEs and innovative start-ups represent one of TITAN’s nerve centres as they are called upon to develop the 15 pilot projects in the fields of food safety, sustainability and health. TITAN does not only intend to activate innovation through its partners. Through an Open Call, TITAN aims to establish itself as a hub for innovation and transformation of the Food System. The Open Call presented by Foodscall Hub, which will manage its implementation with the support of the Consortium partners, has a total budget of 1.25 M€ to fund a further 8 pilot projects.
The Kick-off Meeting was also the occasion for the Consortium to decide on the members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Executive Board. The members of the Scientific Advisory Board are: Dr Marc Heyndrickx, Food Safety, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Belgium, Prof John Spink, Food Fraud, Michigan State University, USA, Prof Alexandra Lianou, University of Patras, Greece and Dr Elizabeth Arnaud, Digital Solutions Team, Alliance Bioversity-CIAT. The Scientific Advisory Board will support the Consortium in ensuring scientific relevance of the activities carried out through regular meetings scheduled during the project.
The members of the Executive Board are the 9 WP Leaders and more specifically:
- WP1 – Isabelle Guelinckx & Andrea Colafranceschi
- WP2 – Verena Otter
- WP3 – Marijn Janssen
- WP4 – Manos Karvounis
- WP5 – Pascal Neveu
- WP6 – Paul Brereton
- WP7 – Christopher Bear
- WP8 – Mladen Radisic
- WP9 – Edward Sliwinski
The role of the Executive Board will be to continuously monitor the status of the project, providing solutions and anticipating the occurrence of problems.
Dedicated sessions organised in parallel gave the opportunity to deepen each WP and analyse possible synergies between the organizations. The Kick-off Meeting did not neglect the importance of social activities where even lunches and dinners were an additional opportunity to strengthen relationships.
TITAN Kick-off Meeting was the opportunity to bring together people who will be called upon to join forces towards common goals.