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, is excited to share that IFT Board President, Dr. Chris Downs, has assumed a new role as Director of the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA) Trailblazer program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and hosted by The University of Queensland.

The FaBA Trailblazer program, 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 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.

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 IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean.

Dr. Downs will be one of many prominent science of food leaders attending the annual IFT FIRST event, which is the largest gathering of science of food professionals, academia, and government members in North America. Exhibitor registration is now open with attendee registration set to open in the coming weeks.

About Institute of Food Technologists
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from more than 100 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world’s greatest food challenges. IFT works to ensure that its members have the resources they need to learn, grow and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. IFT believes that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit

Media Contact
Dennis Van Milligen
Senior Manager, Public and Media Relations
Institute of Food Technologists
[email protected]

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