Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees are integrated programmes offered by a consortium of universities and other stakeholders from different countries. Each year the European Commission funds scholarships for the best students applying. All the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master programmes attach great importance to the employability of their graduates. The consortia – with partners from inside and outside the world of academia - therefore assemble the right mix of academic, technical and practical expertise and experience to prepare the students for the world of work.
FIPDes (Food Innovation and Product Design) is one such Erasmus Mundus Joint Master programme, specifically designed as the first course to tackle the global challenges of food innovation along with product design and packaging. The core consortium brings together five top-ranked European universities: Université Paris Saclay and AgroParisTech (France), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland), Federico II University in Naples (Italy) and Lund University (Sweden). The worlds of research and business come together through work with associate partners, which include Danone, TetraPak and Electrolux.
Barbara Rega, who coordinates the programme at AgroParisTech, explains: "All partners have a common vision of food innovation, to provide students with the skillset to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Since its inception, this common vision has been the main driving force behind the curriculum development process." In addition to scientific knowledge, FIPDes students also develop management skills and creativity, for example through new programmes in culinary innovation.
Over the two-year programme, students study, live and gain professional experience in four different EU countries, based on learning by doing, team work, R&D projects and hands-on training, in collaboration with pioneering research, culinary and industrial laboratories. The result? Most graduates go straight into a job in the sector, though a small proportion are well-prepared to pursue PhD research.