Reinforcements from Italy for developing the food system sustainability transformation

A position associated with the Epanet network has been established at the University of Helsinki’s Ruralia Institute in cooperation with businesses and development organisations from the South Ostrobothnia region, with entrepreneurship in the sustainability transformation of food systems as the field.

At the beginning of the year, Senior Researcher Silvia Gaiani, PhD, assumed the position. Gaiani, who hails from Italy, transferred to the Ruralia Institute from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, where she served as a specialist focused on matters related to food waste. Previously she has worked, among other positions, as a researcher at the University of Bologna and as a consultant at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva.

Gaiani has a diverse and extremely international career as a researcher and innovator, specialising in promoting the sustainability of the food system. She holds two doctoral degrees. In Finland, she has previously worked at the University of Eastern Finland.

“We are glad to have Silvia with her international networks join us to boost research on food systems both at the University of Helsinki and in the food-oriented ecosystem developing in Seinäjoki,” says Sami Kurki, director of the Ruralia Institute.

The research activities are aimed at seeing the sustainability transformation of the food system as an inspiration for novel innovations and as an enabler of increasingly sustainable business endeavours. From the perspective of an international expert, sustainable Finnish food production also holds export potential, as well as potential for commercialising the related expertise.

“Finland is actively striving to consolidate its position as a home of safe, clean and healthy food production, as well as a country where food companies are an integral part of a dynamic and continuously developing operating environment. I’m enthusiastic about contributing to this trend,” says Gaiani, who also professes to be quite a fan of Finland.

Further information:

Sami Kurki, director of the Ruralia Institute    

Silvia Gaiani, senior researcher

The position is part of the Epanet network and the operations of the University Consortium of Seinäjoki.

The position is funded by Atria Suomi Oy, the South Ostrobothnia union of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), the Osuuskunta Maitosuomi co-operative, Valio Oy, the South Ostrobothnia university foundation, municipalities (Alajärvi, Alavus, Evijärvi, Ilmajoki, Kauhava, Kurikka, Lapua, Seinäjoki, Vimpeli and Ähtäri), the University of Helsinki and the University Consortium of Seinäjoki.

Photo: Francesca Cesari