EIT Food Frontrunners

Building leaders to transform the Food system

Our society is changing at an enormous pace. This state of permanent transition is not only affecting the personal lives of people but has also major influence on the economy and our work environment. Especially the Food sector, from origin a very traditional system, needs to address challenges such as the changing climate, growing world population and the use of big data. Businesses and organizations need to adapt to societal challenges to ensure financial and market driven sustainability. This asks for a flexible, innovative, multi-disciplinary, and international oriented workforce.


Value for you:

For new entrees in the workforce we developed the EIT Food Frontrunners programme that aims to build your capacity to become a resilient, entrepreneurial and pro-active Food leader. Throughout the programme you will learn how to manage complex and challenging projects, and how to set up and maintain an innovation ecosystem. You will receive updates of the latest insights and technological opportunities in the Food sector and learn how to innovate within your company. You will work together with fellow young professionals with different backgrounds and receive feedback and mentorship from the best trainers and experts in the field. You will receive workshops and training from EIT Food business and university partners such as Cambridge University, Pepsi-co, Koppert Biological Systems. 

What will you do?

The programme entails a road-trip of different modules throughout a year. You will follow the different steps to learn and experience how to lead projects that impact the Food system. The programme follows the System Innovation process of 5 steps (see picture). 


The  one year training programme consisting of the 6 following modules:


  1. Kick-off workshop on Management of complex and high-risk projects
  2. Mentoring throughout the programme of a personal (business) mentor
  3. EIT Food MOOC or SPOC on a subject of choice
  4. 1-week EIT Food Summer School or professional course on a subject of choice 
  5. 1-2 day company/ecosystem visit
  6. Closing community event on Leading the transformation of the Food System

Deadline 3 March

Timeline 2019

Why should you attend?

  • Learn how to deal with complex challenges in the Food sector and how to manage multi-stakeholder projects


  • Work on your own management project and receive feedback from the best trainers and experts in the field


  • Work together with fellow professionals of different companies on the sustainable future of the Food sector


Module I: Design the Road to Impact

2-day workshop, Brussels, Belgium



  • Transition Management & System thinking
  • Stakeholder & network management

Workshops: challenge definition & current innovation framework mapping

  • Ideation & Business Creation
  • Visualization, prototyping & presentation 
  • Design thinking

Workshops: Visualize the future & start building an ecosystem


Module II: Coaching

Online and offline coaching throughout the programme


After Module I you will receive personal coaching to guide you along your journey. The first assignment is to develop the path and milestones for the case you will be working on. You will discuss your planning with your coach and set up the corresponding meetings during the year.



Online course on a subject of choice


You will follow an online course that gives you more in-depth knowledge of the Food system. For example on the relationship of food, gut and brain, or on sustainable food production.


Module IV: Summer School

1 week competence training on an area of choice


You will follow a 1-week training that gives you a skills and competence training required to become a leader in the transformation of the Food system. For example an entrepreneurial Summer School or a course about Cyber Security policy and tools.


Module V: Company/Ecosystem visit

1-day visit to a company or local ecosystem


The building of an innovation ecosystem is very important. You need to create an environment that generates and implements new solutions for a fair, healthy and sustainable Food system. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the EIT Food companies or ecosystems as a network opportunity and inspiration for your own context.


Module VI: Food Frontrunners Final

2-day workshop, Warsaw, Poland


Final network event with pitches of the different projects, inspiration sessions and workshops. You will present your results and have the opportunity to connect with the EIT Food community.


Design the transition framework and programme with local stakeholders and team


The first step is to build on the state of play in your current innovation ecosystem. You can plot your existing activities, achievements and ambitions in the full transition and innovation framework. Together with partners and team members you can spot the gaps and deficiencies.


Envision the desired future


The second step is to envision a desired future for you and your stakeholders. You don’t take into account any boundaries that you might see now, but only based on the ideal picture that motivates you and your team and partners to join hands and go for it.


Define the path and milestones to get there


The third step is to develop a roadmap to get the future you envisioned with a multiannual action plan on collaboration, funding, events, matchmaking and capacity building. Based on your national and international network you can connect with relevant opportunities.


Build local capacity and the network to implement a sustainable transition ecosystem


The fourth step is to build a strong basis of your local staff. They will work together in a local network with the relevant stakeholders. You trace persons and organisations that want to become active partners in a vibrant and competitive ecosystem. You implement proven tools and hubs for start-ups and scale-ups and supporting entrepreneurial activities to make your innovation ecosystem exciting and successful!


Deliver the programme in your local Innovation Ecosystem



The fifth step is to implement the product/service/programme you designed in the Innovation Ecosystem you have set up. This can also be a first pilot/prototype that you want to validate.

Deadline 3 March

Elective Courses (module III & IV)

Below you can find examples of elective courses that are available during the programme in module III & IV.

MOOC's (Massive Open Online Course)

Food for Thought: the relationship between food, gut and brain

Farm to Fork: Sustainable Food Production in a Changing Environment

Superfoods: Myths and Truths

This MOOC will present in a clear and understandable manner the latest science findings on the relationship between brain, psychology and our eating behaviour.

This MOOC will focus on threats to global food security & consider key challenges which need to be overcome in order to maintain healthy & sustainable food supplies for consumer well-being in both the developing and developed world.

This MOOC will explain and teach the science and the fact behind one of the hottest topics related to food, at least in the eye of the medias and general public: superfoods. 

SPOC's (Small Private Online Course)

Drying and Encapsulation of Food Ingredients in Powder Form

Alternative Proteins as Food Ingredients

Intellectual Property Management in the Food Sector: Safeguarding Your Trademarks in the Global Marketplace

Drying of food materials is an essential process step, especially for sensitive or volatile components. This SPOC provides the details to allow a basic process and recipe design for such products.

The food sector is in need of formulating products that address tomorrow’s consumer preferences and needs. An integral part of this is to use new protein sources as alternatives to animal-derived ones.

This SPOC reinforces the quality of the European food industry workforce and overcoming the lack of knowledge and skills in IP management that are crucial to the food industry

Summer School and Professional Courses

Algal biotechnology - techniques and opportunities for the bioeconomy

Cyber Security Policy and Tools for the Food Industry

Food Innovation Lab - Summer School

Transitions to sustainable food systems

The aim of this professional development course is to provide introductory and advanced hands-on training and theory in algal biology, culturing, growth and subsequent molecular and metabolite analysis under laboratory and small scale pilot facilities.

This course will provide assessment of the likelihood of a cyber-attack on designated food industry firms and will give the participants the ability to identify attack vectors, raise awareness and establish a solid cyber-security policy in their organization.

The “Food Innovation Lab” aims at guiding interdisciplinary teams of students and young professionals through an innovation process – from identifying challenges, developing consumer-centric solutions to prototyping in the laboratory and business model development.

This Summer School aims to address current and future sustainability challenges of the food system. Participants will take on a production, consumption, and socio-economic angle to tackle issues such as environmental footprint, biodiversity, and food waste

Deadline 3 March

EIT Food ivzw, Ubicenter A Philipssite 5, 3001 Heverlee (Leuven), Belgium