Seminar Programme

The International Spring School "Future of Food: Feeding Tomorrow’s World" offers a range of various lectures and workshops covering main trends in nutrition and food research. The participants will gain in depth insights into possible ways of feeding the world's growing population. Furthermore, they will discuss these trends regarding their compatibility with a sustainable management of our planet's resources – be it from a social, an environmental or an economic perspective.

The following topics will be covered during the International Spring School “Future of Food: Feeding Tomorrow’s World". Please note that the Spring School is intended for students who have already completed their Bachelor or an equivalent degree.

Please find the current programme outline here. For further details, check the individual contents listed below.

Monday 11th March – Double Burden of Malnutrition

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the double burden of malnutrition (DBM) refers to the simultaneously occurring undernutrition and obesity, or diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCD). This phenomenon is not limited to an individual or household level, but exists across the globe at a population level where it occurs in the same region or nation.

The International Spring School “Future of Food: Feeding Tomorrow’s World” is focusing on the contemporaneous trends in nutrition and food research. Combating DBM and eliminating each mode of malnutrition is one of the greatest global health challenges and of critical importance. Considering this issue, DBM presents an important opportunity and platform for integrated action.

While attending the Spring School “Future of Food” you will learn about and discuss questions like:

What are characteristics of DBM in both developed and developing countries?

What are future solutions to further address and overcome DBM?

Tuesday 12th March – Genome Editing

Genome editing has been identified to have promising potential to combat the DBM by improving agricultural production. New breeding technologies (NBTs) such as ZFNs, TALENs, and especially the CRISPR/Cas system have already successfully lead to herbicide and drought tolerance or fungal and bacterial disease resistance as well as an increased shelf life. Based on such capacities, genome editing is believed to cope with food supply challenges imposed by the world’s growing population. Yet, revolutionary technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, which since July 2018 has been declared as GMO by the EU, have risen scientific, ethical, and legislative questions like never before.

While attending the Spring School “Future of Food” you will learn about and discuss questions like:

What are the chances and risks as well as potential trends regarding genome editing technologies?

What further research and regulations are needed to manage so far scientifically unknown consequences in nature?

How can NBTs contribute to the world’s most crucial challenges like malnutrition, climate change and limited resources?

Wednesday 13th March – Functional Foods

Functional foods are considered to be foods that deliver additional or enhanced health benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. The term has not yet been defined by legislation but generally includes foods containing particular functional ingredients or foods that have purposefully been fortified.

Food fortification specifically refers to the addition of micronutrients to foods. This strategy has already been proved as a public health intervention, leading to fast improvements in the micronutrient status of a population and being relatively cost-effective at the same time. Yet, there are still debates concerning the safety of long-term high intake of certain nutrients.

While attending the Spring School “Future of Food” you will learn about and discuss questions like:

What are the benefits as well as safety, nutritional and regulatory considerations regarding functional and fortified foods?

What is needed to generate and use evidence for decision-making in the fortification of foods?

How can functional foods combined with a healthy lifestyle contribute to health and well-being?

Thursday 14th March – Novel Food

Exploring promising ways to feed the world, one will certainly come across the term Novel Food. As defined by the European Commission, Novel Food includes products that had not been consumed to a significant amount by humans in the EU before 15th May 1997. This regulation also depicts foods as Novel Food, which are well established for consumption by human outside the EU. As new possibilities can come along with opportunities and risks, Novel Foods need to be evaluated properly. Paving the way for consumption of Novel Foods like insects and other foods produced by new technologies, could contribute significantly to the achievement of defined environmental objectives.

While attending the Spring School “Future of Food” you will learn about and discuss questions like:

What are potential types of food under discussion for approval as Novel Food?

How can Novel Food contribute feeding tomorrow’s world?

Which positive effects on the environment could emerge by the approval of certain Novel Foods?

Friday 15th March– Sustainability

Each trend and research introduced during the week reveals various benefits as well as drawbacks. Taking into consideration the fact that the world’s population is projected to reach 9.8 billion people in 2050, changes and innovations in food production and distribution are crucial to feed tomorrow’s world. A major issue within this development is the efficient management of the planets’ limited resources. The concept of sustainability shall be discussed to shade a light on the feasibility of the different trends in a large-scale. In addition, social, economic and other environmental aspects of sustainability shall be investigated with regard to their practicability.

While attending the Spring School “Future of Food” you will learn about and discuss questions like:

Considering sustainability aspects, which trend discussed can sustainably manage the limited resources of our planet?

How could the discussed trends be combined to increase overall sustainability?

What are consequences for the quality of life of people all over the world?

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Spring School

Spring School

Department of Nutritional, Food and Consumer Studies