A look back at the FoodSTEM project—Training a new generation of entrepreneur in sustainable food processing and agriculture in Cambodia



The FoodSTEM project, funded by the European Union as part of the Erasmus + Capacity Building in Higher Education program, which is started from November 2019 to May 2023. It brings together Cambodian and European universities with the aim of building the capacity of Cambodian students and professors in agri-food. Through e-learning platforms, online courses, innovation competitions and other initiatives, the project aimed to train a new generation of entrepreneurs in sustainable agriculture and food processing...

The FoodSTEM project is an ambitious initiative to establish a partnership between Cambodian and European universities to build capacity in the agri-food sector. This innovative project is coordinated by the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, based in Phnom Penh, and supported by three European higher education institutions such as : Institut Agro Montpellier, Institut National Polytechnique (INP) de Toulouse in France and Université de Liège in Belgium.

Aim: training a new generation of entrepreneurs in sustainable agriculture and food engineering

The main aim of the FoodSTEM project is to train a new generation of entrepreneurs in sustainable agriculture and food engineering. To achieve this, four leading Cambodian public universities have been selected to benefit from this capacity-building program: The Royal University of Law and Economics, the University of Battambang, the Royal University of Agriculture, and the Cambodian Institute of Technology itself.

The results of this ambitious project are numerous. Firstly, e-learning platforms have been set up in Cambodian universities to facilitate access to high-quality teaching resources. Cambodian professors have also received specific training to enhance their skills in the field of agri-food and entrepreneurship.

Innovative training to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow

As part of the FoodSTEM project, online courses are being introduced for bachelor's and master's students, with a particular focus on aspects related to entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector. In addition, a new course program dedicated to entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector have been created at Master's level at the Royal University of Law and Economics.

To encourage innovation and creativity among students, innovation challenge events are organized, providing an opportunity for future entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas in the agri-food sector. In addition, specific training courses are set up to improve project management skills, and technical facilities will be provided to support the pre-incubation of student entrepreneurs.

As food quality and safety are crucial issues in the agri-food sector, the FoodSTEM project has also focused on improving good practice in quality control and food safety at partner universities. This has helped to support student projects and ensure compliance with international standards.

Finally, the FoodSTEM project also aimed to strengthen cooperation between Cambodian and European universities, as well as with the private sector. This increased collaboration has made it possible to develop training programs tailored to market needs, and has fostered the emergence of a new generation of competent and dynamic entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector.

In conclusion, the FoodSTEM project is an innovative initiative that proves the commitment of the European Union and its partner universities to the development of agri-food and sustainable agriculture in Cambodia. Thanks to this international collaboration and the concrete actions put in place, the project aims to create a lasting impact by training entrepreneurial students, ready to take up the challenges of today and tomorrow in agri-food and sustainable agriculture.

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