Wageningen University & Research: Food Waste Free United, winner of the WUR Impact Award 2022

On Friday 10 June, the WUR Impact Award was presented to the team of WUR researchers that have achieved impact by bringing knowledge into practice. Jury chairman Marcel Schuttelaar announced the winner: Food Waste Free United. The Award was presented to programme managers Toine Timmermans and Sanne Stroosnijder and the team of researchers. The prize? Eternal glory and a tile in the Walk of Fame of Wageningen Campus and additional support to the team to further increase the impact next year, nationally and internationally.

‘The nominations made me a proud Wageningen Ambassador. It was a close call’, according to chairman of the jury Marcel Schuttelaar. The jury, consisting of four Wageningen Ambassadors and a WUR General Director: Marcel Schuttelaar, Tjapko Poppens, John Lapré, Wilma Terwel and Sjoukje Heimovaara, chose the winner out of four nominees.

‘The WUR Impact Award is presented to a team that not only produces research results, but also tries to get the results applied. A team that has gone the extra mile to make an impact. The team of Food Waste Free United fully meets the impact criteria’, says Schuttelaar in his jury report. ‘The efforts could have been limited to publishing nice reports, instead the team has mobilised all parties in the Netherlands, such as primary schools, the catering industry, large food processors etc.’

A worthy winner
This makes the team of researcher of Food Waste Free United a worthy winner of the WUR Impact Award. The efforts of this team have not only led to awareness but also to tangible results in the field of reducing food waste. All credits to this team.

Toine Timmermans, programme manager of sustainable food chains, sees the award as a fine appreciation for the efforts in recent years. ‘Initially, the subject was not seen as very attractive; we went against the flow. Our approach to this complex subject was multidisciplinary and mission-driven. We felt that it was not tenable to leave a third of the raw materials we produce unused. Based on facts and figures, we put the subject on the agenda,’ says Timmermans. ‘Various disciplines within WUR have joined forces and we are working with many partners, from government to industry. There is a high potential for the future. We are recognised internationally and organisation are interested in our approach. We have set a vision to halve food wastage by 2030, in doing so we want to make an impact not only in the Netherlands but also in the rest of the world’.

The importance of impact
Sjoukje Heimovaara emphasised the importance of making impact by applying our knowledge into practice regarding the global challenges WUR faces. Heimovaara: ‘Let’s inspire each other to make this impact. Impact will be more and more on the WUR agenda. Congratulations to the winning team of Food Waste Free United’.

Other nominations were Bioasphalt, a substantial part of the fossil bitumen has been replaced by lignin, a residual flow from the paper and pulp industry. The Netherlands in 2120, a nature-oriented vision of the Netherlands in 2120, presented as a new map of our future. And strip farming, crop diversity about the future of agriculture, a smart combination of the use of natural resilience with high-tech solutions.

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