Food and Agriculture Day at UNH Promotes Industry/University Collaboration
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is grateful to the overwhelming positive response from participants to its Food and Agriculture Day, held on November 7, 2019. The occassion brought well over 100 attendees to the UNH Huddleston Ballroom to meet with dozens of UNH faculty and researchers whose work aligns with their industry.
The event was the 7th “industry day” hosted at UNH. Industry days are free, full-day opportunities for industry experts to learn about specific areas of UNH research and to meet members of the UNH community working on issues relevant to their businesses. These networking sessions accelerate innovation and encourage collaboration between local and regional businesses with UNH researchers, seeding potential partnerships. These events align with one of President Dean’s four strategic priorities for UNH, “Embrace New Hampshire,” by welcoming the business community to understand and leverage the groundbreaking research being done at UNH, as applicable to their business needs.
Attendees had a full itinerary during Food and Agriculture Day, including opportunities to hear from researchers in nutrition, food science, agriculture, biological science, pest control, and more. President Dean gave a keynote speech in the morning, followed by remarks from Dean Jon Wraith of the College of Life Science and Agriculture, and Professor David Mortenson, as well as New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper. Commissioner Jasper’s comments included a heartfelt remembrance of UNH as a pillar of the NH agricultural community from his youth.
After keynotes, attendees heard from researchers in a networking speed-dating format. Each group of researchers gave two-minute introductions to their research, followed by an opportunity to meet with attendees, share ideas, and collaborate. Participants were encouraged to move among different groups during the networking session with an on-theme “moo-ve along” message, ensuring attendees were able to speak to many.
After lunch, participants toured UNH’s impressive food and agricultural facilities, including Kingman Farm, the Woodman Horticultural Research Farm and Macfarlane Research Greenhouses, and the N.H. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Attendees returned to the ballroom for a social hour to end the day.
The staff at UNHInnovation, who administered the event, heard from many attendees of the value of their participation, including new potential partnerships and collaborations. They also heard positive feedback regarding the breadth and excitement of initiatives at UNH in this sector, which faces many challenges in light of changing consumer behavior and climate.
UNHI looks forward to continuing the industry days events, which are quickly becoming a hallmark of UNH’s outreach efforts into the business community, recognized even among national audiences. UNHI continues to believe in the power of these events to create connections between UNH and the business community, and plans to build on its success, encouraging commercialization and economic development in our region. In the spring, we look forward to hosting Aerospace and Defence Day.
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The UNH Food and Agriculture Day brings together the combined expertise, capabilities, and facilities of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, NH Agricultural Experiment Station, and UNH Cooperative Extension. The event is administered by UNHInnovation in partnership with NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs; the Business and Industry Association of NH; the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Food; the New England Farmers Union; and the NH Farm Bureau.