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Innovator Fellowship

The objective of EIT Food Innovator Fellowship is to empower talents to co-create, address, and gain experiences on excellent ideas capable of bringing their careers a step further, and foster innovators ready to respond to global food challenges.

Course information




Open for applications - Apply before the 15th of June 2024


Starts on the 5th July 2024

About 12 days along six months

About : Innovator Fellowship embraces the three EIT Food missions

This programme wants to enhance the human intellectual capital of research-intensive institutions and R&I private agri-food system organisations by preparing a new generation of 'researchpreneurs'. Nurturing entrepreneurial talents is a key driver to boost competitiveness and long-term value creation of the food ecosystem. The Innovator Fellowship programme is targeted at creative, young professionals and researchers worldwide who have the ambition to solve global challenges and enhance their career prospects and employability. The participants get the chance to develop an innovative idea to significantly impact the food system's regenerative, inclusive and positive growth.

If you have an idea that may impact the Food systems and you are passionate about unveiling/unlocking sustainable and innovative solutions, Innovator Fellowship is the programme and journey for you.

Innovator Fellowship embraces the three EIT Food missions:

  1. HEALTHIER LIVES THROUGH FOOD - enabling more consumers to make better choices through access to healthier products and actionable information.
  2. NET-ZERO FOOD SYSTEMS - reducing CO2 equivalent emissions by tackling CO2 hotspots, reducing the footprint of proteins through diversification, and creating new markets for food waste.
  3. A FULLY TRANSPARENT, RESILIENT AND FAIR FOOD SYSTEM - a more resilient, trusted food supply chain with people experiencing greater food security and safety through widespread digitally enabled food supply chains.

Together with the EIT Food community of academic and private sector stakeholders, you will address the complex and critical challenges of sustainability and climate change, non-communicable diseases and poor nutrition, consumer trust, scarcity and transparency through a missions-led approach.

Advantages :

EIT Food Innovator Fellowship offers a highly stimulating and creative six-month programme coupled with key skills acquisition and mentoring to translate a lab-idea into a business idea. You will receive high-level training on entrepreneurial skills and one-to-one mentoring, allowing you to impact the food systems, diversify your skills portfolio, enhance your employability, and immerse in the EIT Food ecosystem and its opportunities.

What you'll learn : You will learn the following competencies

Food systems

Develop strategies to address current and future challenges using systems approaches.

Design innovative responses to address sustainability challenges in the food system.


Create opportunities for social and environmental value creation.

Mobilise resources to create sustainable value for others.

Design and implement effective actions to deliver impact.

Problem solving

Critically appraise the problem space to analyse the strategic implications of future choices.

Mobilise effective co-creation methodologies to generate original and sustainable solutions that include relevant voices.

Critical thinking

Critically analyse, interpret and report data and information to inform ethical decision making.

Challenge existing practices and knowledge to develop sustainable alternatives.


Appraise different strategies to deliver a food system innovation.

Demonstrate leadership towards the implementation of a food system innovation.


Devise effective communication methods that support organisational strategies.

Engage in honest and inclusive two-way communication with stakeholders about their concerns.

Adjust messaging for different audiences.

Structure and Modules : Innovator Fellowship consists of six steps

After an evaluation step, the best talents will be invited to the programme. The journey will start with a series of training sessions to build a community of game changers, progressing through team formation and business idea development and culminating with the final pitch of the business proposition in the presence of venture capitalists and innovative food system specialists.

The Innovator Fellowship journey will be articulated over six months. Your involvement takes about 10 – 12 days of training and mentoring during the six months. The journey is designed to be compatible with your routine activities and associated with a reduced workload (see below).

Innovator Fellowship consists of six steps.

Step 1 – COMMUNITY & TEAM BUILDING – |ONLINE TRAINING| July 5th – 6th 2024 – (14:30 18:30).

To move from individuals to a community and to perform teamwork, it is necessary to connect personally before making commitments, forming teams, and working together. People who complement, challenge, and support one another make fantastic teams. In the Community&Team Building training, your values will be the chemistry and glue to form a game-changer community sharing the same values and making informed choices about who enables you to innovate.

Step2 – SYSTEM THINING & SDGs FOR THE FOOD SYSTEMS |ONLINE TRAINING| July 12th 2024 (14:30 – 18:30).
TOUCH AND GO WITH MENTORS |ONLINE Meeting| July 13th 2024 (15:30 – 17:30).

System Thinking and Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) for Food Systems will allow you to acquire a system approach to problem-solving that is essential later to decide which problem you wish to concentrate on and which agrifood challenge to solve.
Mentoring is considered by the former fellows as one of the best activities of the programme. We will provide high-level, one-on-one mentoring activities to help you shape your idea successfully. Step 2 begins by meeting the mentors and helping you identify the best pair mentor team. Scheduled workshops will be accompanied by structured mentoring to advance the team’s original project via a real working viability frame. The Innovator Fellowship management will assign the mentor; however, if you already have a team before the next step, you could express a preference.

Step 3 – INNO-CAMP |ON-SITE| September 18th – 21st 2024 (three days on-site activities)
Per Diem support is foreseen for travel and subsistence.

Step 3 allows you to choose, focus, and “fall in love” with the problem you want to solve in the food systems. The Innovation Camp will challenge your assumptions and redefine your problem to initiate the ideation process and create an innovative solution. Design Thinking and Business Model are at the core of this process. This is when you start building a business proposition, initiate collaborations within the Innovator Fellowship cohort and create/consolidate a team. You will be a head-hunter or be selected by other talents for your expertise. A team and teamwork are the ultimate assets for executing any function in a real work context, and the ability to collaborate is the key strategic factor. In step 3, we will help you to develop your team. Teams can be composed of 2 to 5 talents. Collaborative joint effort to transform an idea into a business idea will remain a prerogative of the programme.
This step will be done ONSITE in an attractive European city with flight connections.

Business Planning – October 11th – 12th, 2024 (one and a half days).

Step 4 is the core entrepreneurial education training. The training courses are tailor-made, unique, business-driven momentum, delivered by highly specialised experts. They cover areas designed to enable the teams to acquire entrepreneurial and transversal skills to develop and implement their ideas. You will broaden your horizons and deepen your competencies, learning to analyse your idea from different angles to have a viable, financially sustainable, and impactful project/product or service impacting the Food system. Moreover, the teams will fine-tune their initial idea into a mature proposal to expand opportunities for further financial support.

Leadership Skills – October 25th 2024 (14:30 – 18:30).
Communication and Pitching Skills – November 8th- 9th and 16th 2024 (two and a half days).

Leadership and Communication Skills are assets of great importance in your professional careers. The ability to be an effective leader to mobilise human capital efficiently and accomplish a shared goal goes hand-in-hand with the ability to communicate and inspire others. Pitching a business proposition to an audience of venture capitalists who should decide to support your business idea financially requires a brilliant way to deliver the solution proposed. In Step 5, you will be trained to reach your goals based on responsible management practice and to communicate and pitch your business idea. Personalised coaching for each team is organised to deliver the best pitch.

Step 6. FINAL PITCH EVENT |ONSITE| – InnovAbility: from research space to new business ventures. December 13th 2024 (half day – morning)

Per Diem support is foreseen for travel and subsistence.

The final event is where teams present their fully developed business idea to experts and venture capitalists. This programme’s winners will access services for prototyping and/or market analysis and fine-tuning business planning.

Career opportunities : This programme is for you!

Global challenges in the Agri-Food system require a mind shift and a thrilling change in the awareness and competencies of talents: the new generation of entrepreneurs are asked to play an instrumental role in solving the planet's food-related issues. Talents from academia (researchers) and the private agri-food sector (Professionals) are called to boost and diversify their career paths, solve global challenges, and enhance their career prospects.

Innovator Fellowship is a journey designed to expand your career portfolio by providing skills in high demand in the job market. Critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and entrepreneurial abilities can make a difference in your career. When these skills come together with sustainable, circular and innovative business models, they become a powerful tool to solve societal challenges and increase your employability potential.

Moreover, the EIT Food ecosystem is the perfect network to enhance your career prospect, offering further opportunities to develop your business idea.

Price : Participation Fees

300 EURO programme commitment fee excluding VAT (21%). 

This fee applies to the selected fellows invited to the programme. The selected fellows shall pay this fee within 15 days of receiving the invitation to participate.

Partners : In collaboration with

Aarhus University

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University of Turin

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University of Bologna

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Programme Leader :

Mario Roccaro

Mario Roccaro

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