From July 5 to 6, 2023, the Open Innovation Forum was held on the campus of Wageningen University and Research (WUR), one of the world’s top higher education institutions focusing on agricultural studies in the Netherlands. Organised by the Open Innovation (OI) Forum at the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, the event was hosted by StartLife, a specialised investment organisation based in the Netherlands, and Yili Innovation Center Europe under the theme of “Disruptive Food Production Technologies.” The forum aimed to advance the upgrading and innovative application of global health food technologies, providing consumers with more comprehensive health solutions.
During the forum, Mr Dominic Oughton, Industrial Associate & Leader of OI Forum at the IfM, University of Cambridge, Dr Maurits Burgering, Program Director at WUR, Ms Annelies Schenk, Head of Innovation & Partnerships at StartLife, Mr Hittjo Homan, Manager of Dairy Technology at Yili Innovation Center Europe, and Dr Matthias Eisner, Senior Product & Process Technology Scientist at Yili Innovation Center Europe participated in discussions with other esteemed experts, as well as representatives from technological innovation enterprises on a series of cutting-edge technologies.
Regarding this forum, Dr. Lin Zhu, Open Innovation Manager at Yili Innovation Center Europe, said: “The forum will further promote the high-quality development of the industry, and in turn, provide consumers with healthier, more comprehensive and more nutritious solutions.”
During the open discussion session on innovation practices under the theme of “Innovation in a Cross-cultural Context,” Dr Maurits Burgering noted that Yili not only focused on a considerable number of innovative projects with WUR but also actively supported students and start-ups as part of its contributions to a better future.
The Yili Innovation Center Europe has now become a bridge for Yili to connect China with innovative endeavours in Europe and the world. Mr Dominic Oughton said, “Yili has achieved cutting-edge innovation in the process of connecting the world and bringing the power and innovation of its brand to Europe. This is the best case study of how universities, start-ups and large companies can work together across different regions to achieve open innovation.”
“Yili works closely with start-ups that are part of StartLife, through providing them with constructive feedback and guidance regarding innovation and entrepreneurship. Yili’s support has helped them in their journey to becoming larger and more impactful businesses. We are grateful for Yili’s dedication to supporting start-ups around the world,” said Ms Annelies Schenk.
In June 2021, Yili signed a cooperation agreement with StartLife in food and agricultural technology and became a member of the OI Forum. The OI Forum at the IfM, University of Cambridge is a structured programme for members to share best practices, explore ‘hot topics’ and accelerate open innovation collaborations along the Food, Drink & FMCG value chain.