The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) board president, Chris Downs, Ph.D, has now accepted a new role as the director of the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) Trailblazer program. Downs assumed his new role January 4, 2023.

Downs has over 30 years of experience in the agri-food industry as a scientist, leader and executive. Prior to joining FaBA, he 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 Organization (CSIRO). “I am truly honored to be a part of such an important program and look forward to continuing my pursuit of a healthier future for Australia’s foods and beverages in this role,” shared Downs.

FaBA is part of Australia’s $150 million effort to boost growth and innovation in the food and beverage industry. It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and hosted by the University of Queensland. Reportedly, the program is expected to attract over $1 billion in investment and generate more than 15,000 jobs across the Australian food and beverage sector.

In addition to Downs’ new role, he will continue to serve IFT in his previous position. He originally joined IFT as a member in 2015 and has served on various panels, committees and working groups at the organization. “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 IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean.