For example, we waste around 1.3 billion tonnes of food annually. That is roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption, which amounts to a whopping 3.3 billion tonnes worth of carbon -- or the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 37 million cars.

However, food waste could soon be history thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of researchers and entrepreneurs. To take one innovative example, British chef Douglas McMaster is the brains behind Silo, a zero-waste restaurant based in Brighton. He has returned to a pre-industrial system, or what he calls the 'closed-loop'. Silo uses seasonal produce from local farmers, fishermen, and foragers. Anything which cannot be sourced locally is made in the kitchen, and any waste goes into a huge food compressor for composting.

"Two hundred years ago, every restaurant was a zero-waste restaurant," says the entrepreneur and eco-chef. "It's a very simple, very realistic model that works with nature and not against it. Not only is it ecologically viable, but it's also economically viable."

Like McMaster, the future innovative leaders in the food industry need a new set of competencies beyond those acquired in research and academic environments -- they require a proficiency that allows them to propose, manage, implement, and lead interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary research and innovation projects, to be able to transform lab-ideas into business ideas.

Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis is disrupting the way we perform our work, business, and our life, presenting a unique opportunity to experience new ways of collaborating to solve challenges impacting the food system, our society, and, in turn, our way of working together.

The EIT Food Innovator Fellowship aims at identifying talents worldwide with creative and innovative potential, wishing to expand their skill repertoire through advanced training for the development of an innovative idea with significant impact in the food system.

In the COVID-19 scenario, the EIT Food Innovator Fellowship will be delivered online. The ground-architecture of the unique entrepreneurial programme remains unchanged with its Foodathon, one-to-one mentoring, intensive and high-value training, and other unparalleled benefits!

The Innovator Fellowship is ready to deliver an engaging online Foodathon creating a unique empowering atmosphere through innovative tools and approaches which will make you feel like a community of talented researchpreneurs and game-changers of the food systems.

Similarly, the winning teams of the Foodathon will experience online training going beyond the knowledge transfer and embracing synchronous and asynchronous training delivery, gamification and mentoring activities to support the implementation of the business idea to a final “ready-to-submit“ proposal for further financial support.

If you are a post-doctoral researcher or young professional and you want to put your talent to the test, find out more, contact EIT Food, and apply here!

Article written in association with EIT Food.