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Food Central

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Food Central is a new initiative of the University of California, Davis aimed at energizing the food industry cluster in Northern California and beyond around the university’s world-class food science.

It builds on Seed Central, the seed industry cluster surrounding UC Davis, established in 2010, which brings university scientists and industry together for monthly networking events, facilitates the transfer of UC technology to the seed industry, and attracts new companies to the region. Seed Central has members in California, in other U.S. states, and overseas. (

Its immediate success has prompted UC Davis to join forces with Seed Central to launch a similar initiative in the food sector.

Bringing together university scientists, food professionals and local governments, Food Central endeavors to foster communication, facilitate research collaborations, stimulate economic activity by bringing science to market faster, and strengthen the image of the region as a global leader in food science and technology.

In a first step, starting in September 2012, joint Seed Central / Food Central networking events will facilitate the dialog between the seed industry and food professionals whose activities are directly connected with seed. The objective is to foster regular contacts and explore ways to further strengthen the cooperation between UC Davis and the food industry.

Some of the projects being worked on with the seed industry may prove adapted to the food industry, such as:

  • the Corporate Affiliate Partnership Program (CAPP), a streamlined method for sponsoring research on campus; 
  • the ScienceFinder, an instrument which industry scientists will use to efficiently locate on campus either ongoing research programs or readymade discoveries and inventions that their companies need to develop new products; 
  • a public/private organization that will perform proof-of-concept research on new scientific discoveries and de-risk them to pave the way for their commercial uses; 
  • a public/private organization in charge of marketing and licensing some of the university’s scientific discoveries.

See diagram at:

Seed Central and UC Davis are also working on an innovative project, the Collaborative Research Lab with Industry Partners, where university scientists and students, joined by industry scientists, would conduct pre-competitive research in areas of interest and benefit to the seed industry. See diagrams at:

These projects emerged quickly out of the dialog established by the Seed Central networking events. The joint Seed Central / Food Central networking events and the resulting dialog with food professionals will lead to other collaborative projects that will benefit the food industry.

UC Davis’ dynamic new leadership, which seeks and encourages close cooperation with the industry, contributed greatly to the success of Seed Central. Combined with the university’s dominant position in plant, agricultural and food sciences, it will provide great impetus to the Food Central initiative.

The joint Seed Central / Food Central networking events are held every 2nd Thursday of the month on the UC Davis campus from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A featured speaker addresses a topic of interest to all participants. The calendar of event is at:

Our fall speakers and their topics will be:

  • Thursday, September 13 - Dr. Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition & Internal Medicine, UC Davis - Flavonoids and health. 
  • Thursday, October 11 - Don Goodwin, President, Golden Sun Marketing - A fresh perspective on changes to our local food systems 
  • Thursday, November 8 - Dr. Alan Bennett, Professor, Plant Sciences, UC Davis - Linking plant genomes to food quality – making a better tomato
  • Thursday, December 13 - Dr. J. Bruce German, Director, Foods for Health Institute, UC Davis - Foods for Health: bringing health benefits to genetic traits

All seed and food professionals are cordially invited.

François Korn
Managing Director, Seed Central
Special Assistant to the Dean of UC Davis’ College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Food Central Initiative / 510-482-5560
August 20, 2012


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