Cornell signed a research partnership agreement on Sept. 23 with Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group — the largest dairy producer in China — to find ways to improve dairy production, according to a University press release.
The agreement emerged after the University and the Yili group signed a memorandum of understanding in April for research collaboration on increasing dairy product innovation.
These public-private partnerships are necessary in order to find ways to feed the growing world population, according to Prof. Martin Wiedmann, food science.
“[This partnership is] needed to increase research to create a thriving global agricultural economy and provide high-quality food products for a world that is predicted to soon reach nine billion people,” he said in the release.
Weidmann said partnerships of this sort give students valuable insight into the global interconnectedness of food production.
“A specific benefit for Cornell and our students will be that international public-private partnerships like this will enable us to gain insights into global food-related challenges and opportunities,” Wiedmann added.
The partnership is expected to provide graduate students with research opportunities as well as possible undergraduate positions and internships.
“Expected outcomes include improved training opportunities for students in dairy and food science as well as research outcomes that will develop improved dairy production and processing approaches,” Wiedmann said.
One of the joint initiatives will seek to create an alternative cheese for the Chinese market. This research will take place at Cornell and will be funded by Yilli, according to the University.
According to Prof. Carmen Moraru, food science, the new cheese product will focus on matching the preferences of the Asian audience by incorporating milk ingredients and soy proteins.
“There are some technical challenges that we’re going to try to solve for them, using our knowledge of proteins and texturization.” Moraru in the release.