Professor Karin Schroen

Presentation: Microtechnology used as a tool for rapid development of new and sustainable food products

In 1995, I obtained my PhD degree in Food process engineering from then Wageningen Agricultural University. Since then I have worked as a post-doc at University College London, and the Biotechnology group of Wageningen Agricultural University. After becoming an assistant professor at Wageningen University in 2001, I have successfully gone through the tenure track and been appointed full professor in September 2012, and reappointed last year.

Currently I head a research group of approximately 16 people excluding many international guests. In the last 5 years I acquired research projects worth approximately 5M€ from various sources including the national science foundation. I have 174 publications in scientific journals according to Web of Science, approximately 15 book chapters, and 7 patents to my name. My h-factor in Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar is: 32, 33, and 40 respectively. I am frequently asked as a (keynote) speaker at conferences, workshops etc., am a member of the Dutch chemistry top team, have been program director within NanoNextNl, vice-president of the alumni organisation, co-organiser of science cafés in Wageningen and so on. I did sabbaticals and short stays at DTU (Denmark), Princeton (USA), CSIRO (Australia), and Tarragona (Spain), and have an extensive national and international network in the field of emulsions, food, and membranes.

Within my research group, many aspects of science come together. Often the micrometer scale is taken as a starting point, and from basic observations the underlying mechanisms are elucidated. Based on these insights, novel process technology that is mostly mild and low in energy density is designed, typically for the emulsification, and membrane separation field.

Besides research, I also dedicate a lot of time to teaching, and innovation thereof. I have been in the top 20 of best teachers of Wageningen University a number of times.

Tell us about your current role
I am a full professor at Wageningen University, specialising in food process engineering. I investigate phenomena at small scale (typically micrometres) and use the thus obtained insights to design large scale equipment, and also analytical tools.

Why do you love what you do?
Food is a special field of expertise that requires knowledge from many different fields of science. Especially the combination of these fields is fascinating to me, starting at very fundamental issues and going to application in practice.

How would you sum up your approach to engineering in three words?
Curiosity-driven, innovative, out-of-the-box.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?
A story about sustainability, making more out of less, sensors that predict shelf-life, novel packaging: basically a view on what the food product of the future could look like.

What are you most looking forward to at ICEF13?
On a personal level, being back in Melbourne is really something to look forward to! On a professional level, ICEF is a wonderful platform to share my research ideas, and being able to do so through a keynote is truly something to look forward to.