Food and drink sector businesses are being invited to a free event to discover more about the support for innovation that’s available in the East Midlands.

The Food and Drink innovation Network (iNet) is staging two events as part of its Innovation Showcase 2011 on March 23rd. They will turn the spotlight on support and funding for innovation generally, as well as more specifically about the latest engineering technologies that could overcome current manufacturing challenges.

Held at East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham, the events are open to firms working in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, and are designed to feed the strong appetite for innovation in the food and drink sector across the East Midlands.

“The Food and Drink iNet Innovation Showcase events are the perfect chance for food and drink businesses in the region to discover the help that’s available for innovation,” said Richard Worrall, director of the Food and Drink iNet, which encourages innovation in the sector by providing support and promoting and co-ordinating innovation activity for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet is one of four regional iNets that has developed an effective network to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

The first event, Get Connected, which runs from 8.30am to 2pm, offers the opportunity for food and drink firms to meet iNet advisers, discover details about current support and funding for innovation, find out how to become part of the innovation network, and to update themselves on key topics for the sector.

This will be followed by a second iShowcase event, which runs from 1pm to 5pm, which is aimed at bringing together food and drink businesses and engineering companies. Organised under the Championing Innovation between the Engineering and Food Sectors (ChIEFS) project, it’s an opportunity for food processors to meet engineers, explain their needs and discover ways that engineering firms could help design and create innovative solutions to problems experienced by food manufacturers.

It will provide an introduction to the ChIEFS project, give examples of successful collaborations between engineering firms and food and drink businesses that have already occurred, and provide an update on the latest advances in hygienic design, as well as offer food manufacturers information about the latest engineering technologies.

A networking lunch will be held between the two sessions.

To book a free place at one or both iShowcase events or for more information, call 0115 9758810, or visit the events section of

The Food and Drink iNet aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

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