Chalmers Professor at Nobel Week Dialogue

​This year's Nobel Week Dialogue – The Future of Food – featured Nobel Prize winners, prominent scientists and politicians. Professor Anne-Marie Hermansson from Chalmers Division of Food and Nutrition Science was invited to discuss sustainability.
​Nobel Week Dialogue is held each year on the day before the Nobel Prize ceremony. An ambitious program of lectures and panel discussions is organized. This year's theme was The Future of Food, and it attracted an audience of 1500. Chalmers Professor Anne-Marie Hermansson was a panelist to discuss sustainable food production.

– We have many challenges ahead of us. Food production has to be sustainable and innovative. The industry need to find new ways to produce food with less water and energy consumption, and with greater recycling. I would say that the water issue is our biggest challenge in the long perspective, she said.
– Climate change will affect us and one challenge is to understand how to use new crops and raw materials to produce foods. Nutritious food also has to be cheap, safe and available. Fluctuations in world market prices for raw materials will have an effect on availability and that will affect the neediest if no action is taken.

Sustainability, waste and health aspects of food was on the menu during the day. Six Nobel laureates, professors, entrepreneurs and politicians like Isabella Lövin, Swedish minister for International Development Cooperation, engaged in the discussions.
– They really found people who knew the field and moreover were charismatic and got the audience to engage, Anne-Marie Hermansson says.
– They also did a great job of putting together interesting combinations, like the musician Patti Smith and Angus Deaton, last year's Nobel laureate in economics. I think the atmosphere was incredibly nice, and the audience was complicit. The organizers said this was their best event so far.

Anne-Marie Hermansson was invited after sending in names of other knowledgeable persons in the research field:
– I was worried that they would arrange this without inviting any food scientists, so I tried to help. It ended up with them suggesting me. It took a while before I realized they actually wanted me to participate in the panel, she says.

To have a well-organized and good arrangement within food and future challenges is important for the field, Anne-Marie Hermansson says. And the event also strenghtened Chalmers:
– It’s very good for Chalmers to have a representative at the Nobel Week Dialogue. Last year Lars Börjesson, who was then the Vice President, participated.

Next year’s Nobel Week Dialogue will be in Gothenburg on December 9 2017.

Note: You can watch Nobel Week Dialogue on YouTube. The panel discussion with Anne-Marie Hermansson can be found here.

Text: Mia Malmstedt
Photo: Jan-Olof Yxell

Published: Tue 20 Dec 2016.