IFoodNet - Student International Innovation Training School

IFoodNet - Student International Innovation Training School

Norwegian and Japanese students creating new food concepts together during 1-week international Training School.

Three researchers discussing in a meeting. Photo

Securing future food supply within the planet’s boundaries is a global challenge engaging students and researchers cross-borders. This societal challenge was chosen as an overall theme when NTNU arranged a 1-week Training School in 8-12 November 2021. The Training School was part of the iFOODnet project coordinated by Nofima and founded by the Ministry of Education and Research through Norwegian Research Council and Diku.

The aim of the Training School was to increase awareness of the societal food challenges and to equip the students with an innovation toolbox, international network and cross-cultural and disciplinary skills in teamwork whilst designing future food concepts.


Food concepts

  • Wastecraft – there is no waste only resources
  • Single cell protein
  • Insects as ingredient - protein hopper
  • Proteins for elderly
  • The green house
  • Spirulina as a protein source for elderly
  • Alternative protein sources for emergency products
  • Modified atmosphere cabinet


“What will be the future protein sources?” and “How to reduce food loss and waste?” were the two topics that the students worked on in groups to develop food concepts. The week comprised lectures in innovation, design thinking methodology, multidisciplinary project work, food trends and pitching of ideas as well as daily group work. On the last day, each group presented their food concepts.

41 students joined the event from 2 universities in Japan (Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology; Tokyo University of Agriculture) and 2 (NTNU; University of Stavanger) in Norway representing 20 different study programs at Bachelor, Master or PhD levels. Twenty-two Japanese students and 16 Norwegians joined the daily program from 8-12 PM Norwegian time and 16-20 PM Japanese time. The program had a strong focus on collaborative group work: the students were divided into groups of 4 to 6, each group consisting of students from Japan and Norway and from the different universities. In the beginning of the teamwork, the Japanese students were more reticent in the discussions, but that improved during the week and the teams became an arena for creativity and knowledge sharing among students with different cultures and backgrounds. The students reported high learning outcome and increased international network through the Training School.

The Training School was organised and led by Professor Turid Rustad, researcher and vice dean for innovation Catherine Taylor and assoc. professor Eva Falch at NTNU. The organizers were impressed about the student teamwork and the food concepts developed by the students. This was above all expectation and the teaching model developed here will be used in future training in international teamwork. Such collaboration will help our global food systems to drive in the right direction towards sustainability.