UG and Nestlé Collaborate To Advance Sustainable and Affordable Nutrition

The University of Ghana and Nestlé are collaborating to advance sustainable and affordable nutrition.

At a recent summit jointly organised by UG’s Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) and Nestlé, researchers and industry practitioners shared findings and projects aimed at enhancing nutrition for human well-being. The event which was on the theme, “Valorising Industry-Academia Partnership For Sustainable And Affordable Nutrition”, was held at the Cedi Conference Centre.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Development (RID), Prof. Felix Asante, chaired the event on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor. In delivering welcome remarks, he expressed gratitude to Nestlé for the alliance and stated that, the summit marks a significant milestone in the partnership between the University of Ghana and Nestlé which started in September 2018.

Pro VC (RID), Prof. Felix Asante (Left) and Provost of CBAS, Prof.  Boateng Onwona-Agyeman (Right)

Prof. Asante noted that the summit provides a valuable platform to engage in meaningful discussions on how the synergy between academia and industry can drive the agenda for sustainable and affordable nutrition. He added that the events reflect the commitment and dedication of both University of Ghana and Nestlé to advancing knowledge and making a positive impact on society especially the utilisation of resources in the food industry.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor expressed his pleasure at the substantial collaborative initiatives ranging from internships, workshops, seminars and training programmes as well as sponsorships for graduate research students, that have occurred following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2019.

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Nestlé, Prof. Stefan Palzer, who was the Guest Speaker at the Summit reflected on global challenges the globe is currently experiencing and the effect it has on Africa.

He indicated that some of these challenges, such as, climate change, environmental pollution, geo-political instability and food insecurity affect the prices of agricultural produce and eventually affect the prices of products that enhance nutritional needs.

Prof. Palzer stated that, to solve the problem, there is the need to combine expertise, productivity and a positive mindset, as well as the can-do spirit.

As leader of Nestlé’s research and development activities, he expressed his eagerness to hear from the students about their research and how their findings can evolve into new initiatives. “The future is bright and not dark and not dull but will be brighter if we work together by bringing expertise and productivity together,” he said.

The five UG PhD students flanked by Nestlé's CTO, Prof. Stefan Palzer, and Pro VC (RID), Prof. Felix Asante.

A key highlight of the event was a video presentation featuring five UG PhD students researching on various aspects of nutrition. The students, Leticia Donkor, Dora Ofori Appiah, Patience Atitsogbey, Ruth-Ann Frimpong and Adjoa Kesewaa Sarfo, who are at various levels in their PhD studies, are awardees of Nestlé scholarships. They were honoured with certificates, vouchers to purchase IT equipment of their choice and Nestlé souvenirs.

Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science delivered a presentation on the topic, “Addressing Challenges of Affordable Nutrition - Contribution from Academia”. In her presentation she emphasised that success in addressing challenges to affordable nutrition will depend on actions by, and collaboration among, several actors in the food system, including academia.  

Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu delivering a presentation during the summit

Mrs. Corine Emonet, Global Head of Innovation Acceleration at Nestlé R&D, also presented on innovation and how to empower young innovations to shape the future of food.

A panel discussion on the theme of the summit was held after the presentations. It provided an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and make contributions to matters relating to nutrition. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Margaret Mary Tohouenou, Regulatory & Scientific Affairs Manager, Nestlé Ghana. Members of the panel were Prof. Stefan Palzer, Chief Technology Officer of Nestlé; Mrs. Corine Emonet, Global Head of Innovation Acceleration at Nestlé R&D; Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, UG; Prof. David Dodoo-Arhin, Director, Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), UG and Mrs. Céline Worth, Program Manager, Affordable Nutrition, Nestlé.

Panelists at the summit sharing insights on the theme for the summit.

Five graduate students of UG who came tops in a scientific challenge on evidence generated from their graduate research were recognised at the event and awarded with cash prices and Nestlé souvenirs.

As part of the event, Nestlé presented an anniversary cake to the University of Ghana in commemoration of UG’s 75th anniversary celebration.

The summit ended with poster presentations by the PhD awardees at the foyer of the Cedi Conference Centre. The students present were also treated to various fun activities such as quizzes and product tasting, for which the winners of the quizzes won Nestlé products and souvenirs as prizes.

One of the PhD students sharing details of her poster presentation

The event was well attended by UG students as well as top management from the University and Nestlé.