IFT Board President Dr Chris Downs assumes new role as Director of Australia’s Food and Beverage Accelerator Trailblazer programme

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system, announced that IFT Board President, Dr Chris Downs, has assumed a new role as Director of the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) Trailblazer programme funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and hosted by The University of Queensland.

The FaBA Trailblazer programme, which is part of Australia’s $150 million effort to boost growth and innovation in the food and beverage industry, is expected to help attract more than $1 billion in investment and generate more than 15,000 jobs across the Australian food and beverage sector. Dr Downs assumed his new role effective January 4, 2023.

“I am truly honoured to be a part of such an important programme and look forward to continuing my pursuit of a healthier future for Australia’s foods and beverages in this role,” said Dr Downs. Dr Downs has more than 30 years of experience in the agri-food industry as a scientist, innovation leader and executive. Prior to joining FaBA, Dr Downs served as the general manager for Crop and Food Science at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. He also previously led the Food Program at Australia’s national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

In addition to his new role, Dr Downs will continue to serve as IFT Board President, a role that he assumed in September 2022. Dr Downs originally joined IFT as a member in 2015, and has served on various panels, committees and working groups at IFT.

“As IFT Board President, Chris Downs has championed IFT’s mission of promoting and advancing the science of food and its application while engaging and supporting food professionals around the world. His passion for creating a safer and more sustainable food supply through science and innovation is second to none, and we wish him all the best in his new role,” said Christie Tarantino-Dean, IFT CEO.