Food giant Nestlé has entered into an agreement with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile) to explore the potential of marine plants and other alternative vegetable protein sources in Latin America.
The partners seek to strengthen joint entrepreneurship capabilities through this agreement, signed by Nestlé's newly launched R&D Centre in Latin America.
The research agreement will see Nestlé and UC Chile focusing on supply chains, nutritional profiles, and possible product applications, leveraging Nestlé's R&D expertise and the strengths of UC Chile as a research institution in Latin America.
With its extensive coastline of over 6,400 kilometres, Chile is home to one of the largest algae forests in the world and, therefore, an appropriate location to conduct research on marine plants and algae.
Speaking at the signing of the agreement at UC Innovation Centre in Santiago de Chile, Rector of UC Chile, Ignacio Sánchez, said, "Our university is constantly searching for strategic routes that add value to collaborative work. Likewise, we have a responsibility to promote virtuous flows of knowledge."
"This new alliance with Nestlé R&D is a clear example of the collaborations that allow us to strengthen research networks and achieve positive results that impact people's quality of life," Sánchez added.
The partnership will support PhD students to conduct research on marine plants and algae and explore other alternative plant protein sources.
It will also cover the costs of internships in Chile and abroad for four master's students per year from the schools of engineering and agronomy.
In addition to scientific research, the collaboration between these institutions will include innovation and entrepreneurship challenges, both at student and startup level, as well as collaboration through the new regional Nestlé R+D Accelerator and other R&D projects, Nestlé added.
Nestlé chairperson, Paul Bulcke said, "We need innovation to transform the food system, and address challenges including climate change and malnutrition.
"That is why this type of agreement is very important for us, as it allows us to collaborate and share expertise with authorities, academics, students, entrepreneurs, and startups, to identify suitable solutions to the challenges we face."