Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: B-B3FOFO16
Food forward: innovations that will feed the world
Course info
Course codeB-B3FOFO16
Course goals
At the end of this course the student will be familiar with:
  • Obtaining relevant information from scientific literature and translating this knowledge to socio-economically relevant themes, most importantly the science behind food-based innovations that will feed the surging human population in the coming decades
  • Strategies to improve biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants
  • Technological innovations in agriculture on the levels of farming and breeding
  • Legislation concerning environmental and food safety assessment
One of the major current challenges of science and society is to find sustainable solutions that meet the dietary needs of the rapidly growing human population and its increasing standard of living. The United Nations has predicted that the world food demand will rise by 70% by 2050. Current food systems are not sufficient to keep up with this growth, and do not provide appropriate solutions for the diet-related WHO-defined priority diseases that are associated with our ever-increasing standard of living. To provide sustainable and healthy food for the next generations, there is an urgent need to further develop food production. In this course you will learn and discuss how science can feed the world in 2050, arguing that a combined effort of multiple disciplines is required to understand the challenge of future food and think of innovative ways to deal with this challenge. The combination of fundamental veterinary and plant sciences and integrated studies on molecular and immunological mechanisms will provide students with a broad perspective on the societal and scientific challenges that await to meet the dietary demands of the future. Students are encouraged to think about how their work contributes to meeting the challenges of future food and will learn to communicate this to a wide audience (both academic and non-academic).
Specifically, in this course we will deal with four broad themes, namely: 1) improving stress tolerance in crops, 2) improving nutrient tolerance in crops 3) technical innovations in agriculture (on the level of farming and breeding) and 4) alternatives to plant-derived protein production to reduce pressure on agriculture. Guest lectures will cover a variety of topics that are part of these broad themes. For instance, emerging threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health will be covered, but also legislation around food security in The Netherlands, sustainable fish-derived protein production and innovations such as the cultured meat (kweekvlees).

Attendance in all contact moments, especially guest lectures, is obligatory, and an active participation is requested. Final grades will be determined by participation in several (individual and group) assignments during the course including pitch talks, peer-feedback, essay writing, presentations, debates and media campaigns. There will be no written exams. The percentage breakdown of these individual parts to the final mark will be highlighted at the start of the course.

This course will provide students with input for their CV on 21st century skills, such as communication to a broad audience, an interdisciplinary approach, international team work and awareness of the relevance of science for society.
Kies de Nederlandse taal