18 February 2015

When we collaborate with SCIENCE it takes Arla to another level


“When we collaborate with top universities like SCIENCE it takes Arla to another level: we get access to the best brains, new knowledge we can patent and a stronger position on the market. As Senior Vice President at Arla my primary role is to be in charge of innovation and product development. Through the newly established Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center, we perform research and collaborate with University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University." - Paul Cornillon, Senior Vice President in Arla Foods.

Senior Vice President for Innovation at Arla Foods, Paul Cornillon

Senior Vice President for Innovation at Arla oods, Paul Cornillon

Healthy affordable consumer products based on the newest research

Our ambition with the centre is to promote a healthy lifestyle for our consumers across the globe.  In order to do that we need to focus on creating excellent research. With the centre, we have established a virtual research program, where we can bring the best teams and expertise together to create scientific progress. At the moment we are especially focusing on three identified research areas: Healthy growth and development for children, metaboloic syndrome and weight management as well as immunity and type 2 diabetes.

We aim at putting all our health research collaborations into the centre in the long run. Before we started the centre, we already had promising, ongoing research projects with researchers at the University of Copenhagen such as the Neomune project with Professor Per Sangilds research group and projects with Professor Arne Astrup’s group on obesity and weight management, but we wanted to speed things up and push even more research into this area. So all our ongoing, research collaborations will soon be in this centre. One of our specific goals is to develop healthy and affordable products based on plant and dairy protein targeting the African marked where low product price is key.

Research collaborations raise competitiveness

We are building on many years of successful collaboration with University of Copenhagen.

By collaborating with SCIENCE, Arla is able to improve their existing products and make new exciting ones.

The Faculty of SCIENCE has an expertise and a top research environment that is strongly recognized across the world and frankly, we want to be associated with that. It gives us good PR and recognition as a state-of-the art company.

By collaborating with SCIENCE, we also get new, valuable knowledge on the goodness of milk and we are able to improve our existing products and make new exciting ones. As a result, we are able to protect our position as a leading company on the market. The new knowledge is turned into exclusive patents and licenses. In that way, we use IP (Intellectual Property red.) as a strategic enabler to raise our competitiveness.

When we work with top universities we get access to the best brains and that is a big advantage. It takes Arla to another level. Over the next five years we want to generate 25 PhDs through this new center.

By collaborating with universities we also leverage more funding to do more research, which means we get more research done with less money.

Advice from Paul Cornillon for companies who consider collaborating with SCIENCE

  • Invest time to understand working with a university.  
  • Be open about your needs and accept that some things will not turn into value to your business.
  • Ensure that the technology is transferred back to the company so the research is put into making new products and you get value for your time and money.
  • Remember that the overall collaboration should be a success. At Arla our collaborations with University of Copenhagen over the last 10 years have not always resulted in new products but many times it has. And that’s ok. As an industry partner you have to accept both success and failure during the time of a collaboration. But in the end, you will benefit enormously as a company.


Paul Cornillon, e-mail.: paul.cornillon@arlafoods.com