Thijs Defraeye has been appointed Professor by Special Appointment of “Data and Simulation of Post-harvest Fresh Food Supply Chains for Self-Care” in the Food, Quality and Design group. The job is being funded by Empa, a Swiss research institute involved in materials science and technology. Defraeye focuses his research on post-harvest loss of fruit and vegetable quality. in every shipment within the supply chain. In doing so, it uses physical models and data recycling. Within Wageningen University & Research, Defraeye will work closely with both the university branch and the research side.
Defraeye works at Empa. There he tries to extend the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables, combat food waste and make supply chains more resilient through better decision-making and better logistics. Together with his colleagues, Defraeye wants to help provide consumers around the world with fresh foods that are nutritious, attractive, and affordable. Take steps to combat hunger, malnutrition and obesity.
Defraeye studied civil engineering at KU Leuven. “After graduating in 2006, I knew for sure that I would never be on a construction site,” says Dvry. “I needed a different challenge.” Dive into KU Leuven’s PhD research on convection drying processes in porous materials. Then he changed direction and ended up in post-harvest nutrition science and technology.
During his career, DeVry visited South Africa several times, where he and Citrus Research International designed new boxes and refrigeration protocols for the export of citrus fruits. There he was inspired by the intense drive of researchers and stakeholders to innovate, and the impact that science and its skills can have. “This collaboration was one of the main motivations for me to create a line of research in post-harvest technology,” says Defraeye.
In addition to improving shelf life and reducing food waste, Defraeye will look for ways to reduce stakeholder involvement in transportation control, decision-making, and logistics interventions in the coming years. This is what the new professor wants to achieve with special appointments through self-care food systems. In addition, food – not its stakeholders – is the main driver of smart decisions and actions to extend the life of food from farm to fork. This is especially true of domestic and imported fruits, vegetables, and ornamental crops.
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