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Center of Excellence for Digitalization of microbial food safety risk assessment and quality parameters for accurate food authenticity certification (FoodHub)

01/2020-12/2022

Funding programme / funding institution: Ministry of Science, Montenegro

Project homepage: https://www.udg.edu.me/en/research-and-projects/center-of-excellence-foodhub-41

Project description:

The Centre of Excellence (CoE) will be established in order to give an impetus for the innovative-science based development of the food sector, particularly in the area of food quality and safety, with the mission to create innovations in the food sector through research, knowledge-transfer, development and improvement of autochthonous and traditional food and agricultural products and resources.

This will be achieved by applying modern technologies in order to adjust traditional food production processes to new trends while retaining product authenticity and traditional features, as well as by engaging and linking a wide front of different stakeholders, including agricultural producers, food companies, research institutions, consumers and others. All of this will be done in order to stimulate the development of the food sector in Montenegro through production innovations, transfer of knowledge and technology and improvement of its competitiveness on the international markets.

A consortium of twelve institutions led by the University of Donja Gorica will form the Centre of Excellence for digitalization of microbial food safety risk assessment and quality parameters for accurate food authenticity certification (FoodHub), which will:

  • boost the development of the Food Safety Risk Assessment area,
  • build up necessary capacities and
  • become a strong pillar for the health protection of the whole population and
  • foster sustainable food production in Montenegro based on domestic resources and new technologies.

The overall goal of the CoE is to offer reliable, science-based solutions for:

  • food safety risk elimination and hazard identification,
  • digitalized food safety risk assessment tools,
  • reliable certification and tracing of food authenticity,
  • ready to use applications for the food production industry and the tourism sector.

Besides structured, scientific risk assessment by laboratory and genetic analysis, FoodHub will address the necessity to develop appropriate software with integrated data management, data linkage and interactive food chain analyses. The software will support the possibility of analysis of cross-contamination, geographical relations, clustering and tracing.

The consortium’s mandate is to develop a scientific foundation for:

  • food safety risk assessment,
  • valorization,
  • production optimization based on genetic and molecular analysis,
  • improvement and standardization of production technology and
  • creation of new patents.

In addition, the aim of the consortium is to improve the quality and safety of food production and define quality and food safety standards, ranging from the protection of regions of origin to quality parameters, protocols and procedures that will guarantee the high quality and safety of food.

The consortium will also address the burning problem of lack of expertise and training in cutting-edge sciences such as bioinformatics, molecular biology, genomics in Montenegro as well as strengthen the food science sector. Training programmes focusing primarily on young researchers trained in international scientific partner institutions in order to bring missing expertise to Montenegro and establish long-term collaboration are also envisaged. FoodHub has the important mission to enhance and valorize the existing strengths of Montenegrin food production and to create a critical mass of scientists, companies and foreign partners for the development of sustainable food production in order to be in line with EU policy developments.

Finally, the synergy created between the institutions, the connections with foreign partners and the focus on future self-financing guarantee an extension of the project to a long-term collaboration after the completion of the grant.

The Project is funded by grants of the Ministry of Science for the establishment of Centers of Excellence.

Project Partners

  • Univerzitet Donja Gorica
  • Universitá degli Studi di Padua (Gregori, Prof. Dario)
  • University of Novi Sad (Tomovic, Prof. Vladimir)
  • Jiaotong-Universität Shanghai (Shi, Chunlei)
  • Institut za javno zdravlje Crne Gore (Durovic, Assist. Prof. Dijana)
  • Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Affairs (AFSVPA), Podgorica, Montenegro (Velimirovic, Ana)
  • Chamber of Economy of Montenegro (CEM) (Radusinovic, Tanja)
  • Fleka (FL), Podgorica, Montengero (Lekic, Marko)
  • LLC Seljak, Podgorica, Montenegro (Maras, Marko)

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