During the Young Brainport Summer School week, 38 students from 22 different countries visited the biggest high-tech companies and educational institutions of the Brainport region to gain first-hand knowledge of the innovative technologies that are developed there and to get acquainted with the region itself. One of the school days the students spent in the Food Tech Brainport in Helmond – the centre of expertise for food technology, product and market innovation. Food Tech Brainport provided the young people with a number of challenging assignments designed to give them an overview of the food technologies and food innovations that are developed and applied in the Brainport area.

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One type of assignment that the students were working on during their visit were real-life economic and engineering problems related to the technologies and machines used there. Another type of assignment involved experiments at the Food Tech Brainport facilities so that the students could receive hands-on experience with the high pressure processing and mild separation technologies – the two main areas of expertise of Food Tech Brainport. High Pressure Processing is the technology that allows to significantly prolong the shelf life of the product by treating it with high pressure and the mild separation technology serves for mild drying and the separation of raw materials or waste streams.

In the experiments YBSS students were asked to predict what would happen with the given materials (a whole raw egg, a cracked egg and a Styrofoam cup) after the high pressure processing and the mild separation and then to compare their predictions with what really has happened. In addition to this, the students had a fun task – to squeeze orange juice, which was processed under high pressure as well and was served during the lunch. And that was an experiment, too: the students were asked to describe any differences in taste between the juice they made, the freshly squeezed unprocessed juice and some juice from a supermarket, processed with the usage of the technology other than High-Pressure Processing.

During ,the break the students shared their impressions of the Brainport region and the Young Brainport Summer School.

Ria from Canada: “I really like Eindhoven, the environment here is great! I am considering coming here for my further studies. I was talking with one of the supervisors in TU/e about the curriculum: it is different from Canada’s – our curriculum is marks-oriented, but here it is more learning-oriented. I am interested in Quantum Physics and in quantum nanophotonics in particular, and I know that TU/e has the Center for Quantum Materials and Technology, so I am planning to visit it. The Summer School is a wonderful opportunity to get to know people from other cultures. I thought we were really different from each other and that only technology would bind us, but then I learnt that regardless of where you are from in the world, everyone in the core is the same: we all dance and listen to the same music, we laugh and the same things, we become competitive in the games in the same way. The best part of the program is human interaction here and the people I got to know.”

Joachin from Ecuador: “Technology now is at such a point that in order to make something new, you have to be really excellent at it. You have to be really innovative and I think that here, in TU/e, they have some really amazing ideas like the Lightyear car. It is amazing that TU/e promotes the creative initiatives of the students to start projects like this at a large scale at such a young age. This is something that people who are into technology should strive for. I really liked our visit to ASML: we had a simulation of the problem with their system and we were given the series of steps that could be taken, so we needed to choose the best one to find out what the problem was.”

Shaunak from India: “I am interested in physics and astrophysics. There is a Dutch scientist I know about this, his name is Eric Verlinde who did quite a lot in the filed of the string theory, which I am fascinated by. It would be great to come to the Netherlands in the future to study and to work with this scientist! And I was greatly impressed by the lecture by dr. Bert Koopmans in TU/e on theoretical physics and quantum physics – these are also the fields I am very much interested in. What I find really great here, in the Summer School, is the balance of academic and recreational activities – you don’t have to be stressed and cram knowledge all the time. And there are lots of great people to hang out with!”

Vikrum from Canada: “Eindhoven is an amazing city – it is called “the light city” and it represents it. I will be thinking about studying in TU/e in the future – it has the courses in Chemical engineering that I would like to do, I have already met some professors – they are nice. I also really liked what we did here, in the Food Tech Campus because we learn a lot about High-Pressure Processing and how people can “pressurize” food so that no bacteria can come into it and its safer for people who are eating it. Right now, we need that because there is a big population in the world and we need to feed everyone – we can’t do that if the food spoils. What people do here is really amazing, so I really love it!”