New chair position in Venlo: Youth, Food and Health

Initiative of Maastricht University and companies at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo

VENLO, 30 August 2018

Several companies and Maastricht University joined forces to develop the new academic chair on Youth, Food and Health at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. The appointed professor will spend five years conducting research on healthy eating patterns in young people. The position also includes an academic and teaching remit.

The chair position will be funded for at least five years by Scelta Mushrooms, ZON Fruit & Vegetables, BASF, Seacon Logistics and regional Rabobank branches. Kids University of Cooking will participate as a field lab with educational programmes for children. The recruitment process will start soon, both at home and abroad. The goal is to recruit a leading academic who can start early next year at the Brightlands Campus in Venlo. Healthy and safe food is the key theme at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, which is home to research companies and academic institutes alike. Maastricht University opened new labs several months ago and is conducting research on all facets of nutrition.

New opportunities

The initiator of the chair position is Jan Klerken of Scelta Mushrooms. “Little is known about the effects of nutrition and how it contributes to the development of children,” he says. “Merging science and education to develop and transfer new knowledge is great, but not enough. In the end, we have to get young people to start eating healthier. This is the responsibility of all parties involved, including the business community. That's why we worked together to make this happen.”

Saskia Goetgeluk, the director of Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, is also pleased with the chair position. “This position offers companies and knowledge institutes plenty of points of reference on a campus focused on healthy and safe nutrition. When science and business converge, unique knowledge is created that is of immense value to everyone, including society. This chair position is a magnet that will make the agro-food region even more attractive.” 

Aalt Bast, head of University College Venlo and professor of Toxicology, sees a new opportunity in this chair position. “This position will bridge the gap between research and an important target group: young people. This should help future generations to make healthier and more conscious food choices earlier in life.”

Joost van den Akker, member of the Limburg Provincial Executive, is also pleased with this position. “I think it's great that Venlo introduced a Youth, Food and Health chair position. Healthy nutrition will play an increasingly important role in the years to come, especially with respect to the eating behaviour of our youth. The Brightlands Campus in Venlo is answering many of these questions and the chair position is adding an important new dimension.”

Maastricht University in Venlo

The new chair will be embedded within University College Venlo (UCV) and provides new and inspiring education and research which allows students to experience how academic education and applied sciences enforce each other. The interaction between regional companies and Maastricht University strengthen the position of UCV in Venlo.


At Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, entrepreneurs, scientists and students work together to research healthy and safe nutrition, future farming and the bio-circular economy. Approximately 45 companies are affiliated with the campus, as are many scientists and students from knowledge institutes such as Maastricht University, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, and HAS. 

Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo is part of the Brightlands open innovation community and consists of four campuses. These campuses are working on solutions to the biggest challenges in the field of sustainability and health. The four Brightlands campuses were developed at the initiative of the province of Limburg, Maastricht University and several leading companies.


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