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New research network for sustainable food packaging

A new international research network with representatives from 22 countries, CIRCUL-A-BILITY, has been created within the framework of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST). The purpose of the network is to support knowledge sharing on sustainable food packaging solutions. Professor Milena Corredig from the Department of Food Science, Aarhus University is the main proposer of the network.

2020.06.03 | Lise Bundgaard

“Rethinking packaging for circular and sustainable food supply chains of the future”, or CIRCUL-A-BILITY in short, is the name of a new international research network with representatives from 22 countries within the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).

The network will support the knowledge sharing between researchers from research institutions across Europe, who are working to create the food packaging solutions of tomorrow.

Professor Milena Corredig from the Department of Food Science, Aarhus University took the initiative to create the network. She explains why it is so important to promote research within this field:

- Food packaging is designed to protect the food through its supply chain, communicate to customers, and to ensure food quality, safety and optimal shelf life. However, we need progress to secure its circularity, minimize food waste and improve sustainability, engage citizens and work with policy makers.

Joint action

CIRCUL-A-BILITY is a so-called COST Action - the main instrument used by COST. COST Actions complement national research funds by supporting research collaboration in a field of science and technology of common interest to at least seven COST members.

COST Actions are both open to researchers and innovators, and they are based on a joint work program lasting four years.

Professor Milena Corredig explains the purpose of the CIRCUL-A-BILITY Cost Action:

- CIRCUL-A-BILITY will go beyond the state of the art by jointly addressing the major technical and non-technical hurdles for implementation of sustainable food packaging solutions within future circular food supply chains. A food-specific, focused action is critical amongst the ongoing debate in sustainable packaging. It is important to share data on the consequences of specific food product - package interactions and to keep the behavior of consumers as a critical focus.

Multidisciplinary collaboration

CIRCUL-A-BILITY will organize a network of actors involved in all aspects of food packaging, including material scientists, food scientists, industry end-users, consumer scientists and policy makers.

- The network will actively work to harmonise and integrate food packaging related research, share information, support industry in the implementation of sustainable packaging systems, develop consensus that will allow for faster implementation, create authoritative working groups able to give science based recommendation to consumers, user groups, policy makers and industry, Milena Corredig says.

It is expected that the COST Action activities will 1) valorize the current technical advances, 2) speed the preparation of prototypes beyond the interest of single stakeholders and to the benefit of the European landscape;  3) avoid duplication of efforts in research in adjacent fields; 4) accelerate technology transfer and entrepreneurship; 5) elevate the scientific capacity and research ranking of the COST working members. 

 About COST Actions

 The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is a program financed by the EU, which supports the creation of international research networks. The overall purpose of COST is to support groundbreaking research that can lead to new concepts and new products.

 COST operates according to one main instrument, the COST Action. COST Action is a network dedicated to scientific collaboration, complementing national research funds.

 Read more on the official website

 Read more about the new network CA 19124 – Rethinking packaging for circular and sustainable food supply chains of the future 

Press release