The Institute of Food Research hosted visitors from Vietnam, lead by the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bui Ba Bong. The delegation was interested in IFR’s research into food safety, food bioactives and exploitation of co-products from the food chain, with a view to future collaborations and learning from IFR’s expertise.
Vietnam is currently investing in research on biotechnology and agricultural research, and is also developing a national regulatory biosafety network. The visit was part of a tour of European research institutes, universities and companies working in the field of biotechnology, to help strengthen Vietnam’s capacity in these areas through sharing knowledge, collaborative research and training.
The delegation was greeted by IFR’s Director David Boxer, and Tim Brocklehurst, Head of the International Office, gave an introduction to IFR. Paul Kroon and Mike Peck introduced the two institute strategic programmes at IFR, covering how nutritional compounds in foods can promote health and how food interacts with our bodies. Food safety is a growing concern for Vietnam, and IFR’s expertise could help strengthen Vietnam’s capability in this area. The importance of education and training in this area was covered in the discussions.
The visit also included a tour of the Biorefinery at IFR. Earlier this year, Keith Waldron visited Vietnam for a series of workshops on biofuels, and currently two students from Vietnam are working with Keith investigating the conversion of rice straw to biofuels.
The trip was funded by the Vietnam government and facilitated in the UK by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As well as the Vice Minister, the delegation included Dr. Le Van Bam, Director General, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, MARD and Prof. Dr. Trieu Van Hung, President, Vietnam Academy of Forest Science, MARD as well as representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Government.
It is hoped that to foster potential collaborations IFR will be sending representatives to Vietnam to explore further ways of working together.