The Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, Ill., launched an open innovation program to help accelerate research and meet specific dairy industry needs. DRI invites organizations from within and outside the dairy industry to submit solutions to the website

“The Dairy Research Institute is committed to sound, scientific research to better understand the value of dairy products and accelerate dairy product and ingredient innovation,” said Gregory Miller, DRI president and a Dairy Foods columnist. “The open innovation program expands our view to ensure the dairy industry benefits from the best innovative ideas — whether from within or outside our industry.”

The program aims to discover solutions to challenges that may already exist in other industries; reduce research time and dollars spent to solve industry-wide issues; and decrease time to activation.

“While the dairy industry has always been receptive to outside innovation, this effort formalizes the process to encourage the exchange of new ideas and partnerships with other industries,” said Beth Rice, Ph.D., manager, Scientific Affairs, Dairy Research Institute. “Someone from a different field could have an existing solution to a dairy-specific challenge that we might not find without looking beyond our own industry.”

The site is currently accepting submissions on the following topics:

• Identification of a biomarker for dairy food intake

• Novel methods to further improve quality of fresh or low-sodium cheeses

• Methods to prevent biofilm formation in dairy processing equipment

According to Rice, the short-term benefit of submitting a potential solution is the possibility for funding research to determine how the technology applies to the dairy industry. The long-term benefit could be even greater.

“Applicants have the possibility to gain access to an entire industry that they may not have had a connection with before,” she said. “This could open doors to build new partnerships within the dairy community for long-term success.”

The Dairy Research Institute conducts research on behalf of partners, including the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which also will be able to use this resource to address new dairy innovation challenges.