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The food sector as a whole is faced with major challenges that arise from changes in the sector´s economic and non-economic environments. The availability of safe, sustainable and healthy food has taken a new and pressing dimension in the light of an ever-growing global population and increasing environmental and sustain¬ability concerns.

Technology has already substantially re-shaped the business models, value chains and efficiencies in this sector, but a new wave of driven innovation is needed to give response to this new demand.

A special feature of the food production sector in Europe is that the 99% of the enterprises, generating 50% of the turnover, are SMEs. These current challenges cannot be met by any individual enterprise but require concerted actions and coordination of initiatives.

Aware of the role that innovation may have in giving response to this demanding sector, the NICHE project wish to realize its potential by effectively promoting policies in 7 European regions where food has been identified as a key sector to apply existing research and innovation strengths.

By working together the NICHE partnership aims, by 2019 and through the improvement of existing policies, achieve an average 15 % increase in the adoption of research and innovation solutions by food sector companies in their regions to give response to the demand of this sector identified as high-potential sector for their smart growth.

In doing so is key the creation of the right conditions to maximize all this existing potential in the way of establishing effective open innovation ecosystems, at both regional and interregional level, that will bring together all the relevant actors to facilitate technology and knowledge exchange that will be translated in new products and services.

The project will establish these ecosystems that will last beyond the NICHE's lifecycle and where involved stakeholders will benefit of a more effective and productive way of collaboration.

To Find out more about NICHE see here