PHENIX brings together Wallonia's technology and analytical platforms to innovate in the agri-food sector
A new network of technological and analytical platforms in the agri-food sector has been created with the PHENIX project, supported by Wallonia and European ERDF funds.
This consortium, coordinated by ULiège (Pr Gauthier Eppe) brings together analytical platforms from the universities of Liège, Mons and Brussels, as well as the CER Groupe and Celabor accredited research centres, and will enable the acquisition, by the end of 2025, of cutting-edge equipment to serve both researchers and companies. In all, PHENIX will involve some fifteen research teams.
The creation of the PHENIX network is part of Wallonia's intelligent specialisation strategy. It is part of the Strategic Innovation Domain "Agri-food chains of the future and innovative management of the environment" (DIS 5) and is specifically based on the Strategic Innovation Initiatives Foodbooster, DigiBiocontrol and PROTEWIN.
Foodbooster, coordinated by ULiège (Pr Gauthier Eppe) and the CER Group (Nathalie Gillard), aims to strengthen the Walloon functional food and ingredients industry with prebiotics, probiotics and bioactive peptides.
DigiBiocontrol, coordinated by ULiège - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Pr Philippe Jacques, Terra Research Center), is positioned on new phytosanitary products for the biopesticide, biostimulant, bioinsecticide, biofungicide and natural plant stimulator markets.
PROTEWIN, coordinated by CELABOR, aims to make Wallonia protein-independent by deploying the plant and alternative protein sector, while offering new technological solutions for manufacturers in the sector.
As a reminder, Wallonia has set itself the target of having 30% of its agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.
Thanks to this remarkable funding, Wallonia will be able to bring together exceptional molecular characterisation instruments and highly innovative synthesis, production, extraction, purification and texturing equipment under a single roof.
"This network of equipment and scientific expertise will help Wallonia to achieve its objectives in terms of technological innovation in the agri-food sector and provide access to quality food by reducing the impact of the use of phytosanitary products in agriculture on the one hand, and, on the other, move towards healthier food by supporting innovation and competitiveness in the Walloon functional food and ingredients sector", comments Prof. Gauthier Eppe.
"The structuring of technology platforms within PHENIX will in particular provide access to characterisation tools for SMEs without ad hoc laboratories or very specific skills. In this way, the network will boost innovation by strengthening interactions between the many players in the agri-food sector in Wallonia, whatever their size. "
"The PHENIX network, which will soon be equipped with the best facilities currently available, will raise the international profile of Wallonia's expertise, open doors to new collaborations and integrate scientific networks on a European and international scale."
The PHENIX network (Walloon Technological and Analytical Platforms of Excellence in Agri-food) held its Kick-off Meeting on 16 November 2023 at ULiège (Château de Colonster).