Food design at nanoscale wins €100,000 science prize

18. Nov, 2019
By Anne Sofie Kirkegaard,
HILLERØD, November 18, 2019. Today, distinguished professor David Julian McClements is awarded the Nils Foss Excellence Prize for his pioneering work in food design and nanotechnology. The science prize consists of 100.000 euro for further research.

FOSS, the food tech company building analytical solutions for the food and agricultural industry, hands out two science prizes every year: the Nils Foss Excellence Prize and the Nils Foss Talent Prize. This year, the Nils Foss Excellence Prize goes to professor David Julian McClements, and the Nils Foss Talent Prize goes to assistant professor Qian Janice Wang.


“FOSS is very proud to support innovation and ground-breaking research within food science, both the ideas which have shaped the way we think today, and the ideas which set new and exciting directions for the future. Our business builds on such innovation, and that is why we honour it with this prize,” says Kim Vejlby Hansen, CEO of FOSS.


A committee comprised of representation from both academia and industry selects the winners, and this year, research within food design and multisensory flavour perception receives prizes.


Designing your food, and sensing it too

Winner of the Nils Foss Excellence Prize of 100.000 euro is distinguished professor at University of Massachusetts, David Julian McClements. Professor McClements uses food architecture to design foods at the nanoscale. The result is functional foods designed from the bottom up, to enhance their quality, nutrition, safety and sustainability.

The Nils Foss Talent Prize, which consists of 15.000 euro, goes to assistant professor Qian Janice Wang from Aarhus University. The talent prize winner investigates the flavour perception of what we eat. Drawing on all senses, especially sounds, Dr. Wang is aiming to understand the brain flavour system – how does what we hear influence what we taste?


Chairman of the committee, Per Falholt, says of the winners: “This year’s winners have made significant contributions in food science, and have brought some truly new ideas to the table. It is crucial that we understand both the composition of foods and the drivers of the human flavour system, in order to design a healthier future - at the nanoscale, and through the senses.”


About the winners


  • David Julian McClements
    Distinguished Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts

Throughout his career, Professor David Julian McClements has made innovative contributions to a number of important areas in food science and technology and has used physics, chemistry, biology and technology to improve the quality, safety, sustainability and healthiness of foods.


A significant achievement has been to pioneer and popularise the application of structural design principles to enhance what we eat, through nanotechnology. McClements has used food architecture to design foods at the nanoscale, to improve the physico-chemical, sensory, physiological properties and nutritional profile.


Professor McClement’s research in functional foods has revolutionised how we think about the food supply, and has served as a paradigm for many other researchers in the field. Further, broad collaborations with the food industry has led to implemented research findings in practice.


  • Qian Janice Wang 
    Assistant professor, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University


Moving beyond traditional food science studies, assistant professor Qian Janice Wang’s research is a fresh and innovative way of understanding multisensory flavour perception – especially showing how what we hear influences what we taste.

A unique interdisciplinary approach leads to truly innovative multisensory food research, studying the role of the brain flavour system and strategies to nudge people towards better food qualities and healthier eating behaviours. For instance, Dr. Wang uses biometric measurements such as eye-tracking and facial emotion analysis to generate robust data that can predict consumer acceptance of food quality.


With a background in computer science, and drawing on experimental psychology, as well as neuro- and sensory science, Dr. Wang aims to develop ‘a theoretical model of human multisensory flavour perception’ for food quality assessment.


About the Prizes

  • Nils Foss Excellence Prize: The award winner is an active and internationally recognized scientist who has shown at least 10 years of world-class innovative research leading to remarkable improvements in sustainability, quality and safety in the food supply chain. The research areas are food, feed and agricultural science, applied science and/or analytical technologies within this sector. The research has led to remarkable results through innovative application of analytical technologies. It is seen as an advantage if the scientist has shown entrepreneurship in the application of the research. The prize consists of EUR 100.000 of which 75% is earmarked for further research.

  • Nils Foss Talent Prize: The award winner is a talented and promising scientist who has made a significant contribution to the application of technology to improve the sustainable use of agricultural resources and/or ensuring food quality and safety. The scientist has a maximum of seven years of research after completion of a Master/PhD, has shown an innovative approach and has the potential to make ground-breaking research. The prize consists of EUR 15.000 and the use is without any limitations.

Read more about the Prizes here.


About the prize committee

The Nils Foss Prize Committee consists of a Chairman and six members from the Danish scientific community and international food industry, plus one representative from FOSS. The Committee is responsible for nominating the qualified candidates for each of the two Nils Foss Prizes. The prize winners are confirmed by the Chairman and the CEO of FOSS based on the recommendations from the Prize Committee. Read more about the Committee here.

About FOSS

FOSS contributes to the sustainable use of our planet’s agricultural resources and thus to the nutrition and health of the people of the world. Through analytics, FOSS adds value to customers by improving food quality and optimising production, from raw material to finished product. By turning measurement into information, businesses can run intelligent, data-driven productions with less waste and bigger yields.

Nils Foss founded the family-owned company in Hillerød in 1956. Today, FOSS employs 1,500 highly qualified people worldwide, with consolidated sales of DKK 2.2bn in 2018.

Benjamin Rugholm
Head of External Communications & PR
+45 28 40 95 00

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