LABIP is the Industry Platform for EU sponsored research programs on lactic acid bacteria (LAB). LABIP is a European Economical Association, has a Steering Group chaired by Dr. Esben Laulund (Chr. Hansen) and a Secretariat managed by Dr. Aat Ledeboer. Also Dr. A. Mercenier (Nestle) is member of the Steering Group. LABIP members are companies that produce or use LAB and have production or research facilities within the EU. Companies that fulfill these criteria have the right to become a member. Although the use of LAB is the common denominator for all LABIP members, their activities exceed this aspect and cover various domains as food ingredients, innovative vaccines, diseases diagnosis, cosmetics, healthy and novel food, animal food and the microbiota. The focus of LABIP is on the interaction between Academia (universities and research institutions) and Industry (more specifically Industry R&D) in the field of (pre-competitive) scientific and technological research on lactic acid bacteria, gut microbiota and the interaction between microbiota and the host. LABIP aims to:

  • Secure EU-funding for LAB research on a long-term basis in Europe

  • Act as platform where industrial researchers in the area of LAB and microbiota can meet and interact with scientist from Academia
  • Coordinate communication about topics of industrial relevance between science, industry and EU authorities

LABIP has organized in the past a variety of consensus workshops with scientists, consumer organisations and NGO’s. Lately they have been a full partner in the Sixth Framework Programme Specific Support Action GutImpact (CT-2004-505318).

Role in the project

LABIP has a key role in the network training programme. Its contribution ensures that the requirements for career in industry will be covered during the ITN training allowing envisioning trans-sectorial careers. For ESR/ER, the main expected outputs of LABIP involvement are:

  • To have realistic career objectives and to identify the requirements and needed means;

  • To have a first work experience in industry;

  • To develop a sound vision of industry in Europe;

  • To create their personal network in European industry.

Non-scientific skills training and on site visits

LABIP will be the main organiser of the NSS since most speakers and teachers will be professionals of LABIP members. These sessions are aimed at broadening the ESR/ER transferable skills notably those required in industry and improving their trans-sectorial career awareness. At this stage of the proposal, specific names are not indicated as LABIP is used to organize workshops (and always found volunteers in the company members. Jointly with the NSS or the WS, LABIP will organise at least once a year the visit of one of its member’s company. These visits will allow the ESR/ER to measure the diversity of industrial installations, to learn more deeply about few companies, to meet industry staff and to identify the diversity of jobs offered in industry.

Trans-sectorial analysis of the individual training plan and career objectives

As members of the Supervisory Board, LABIP representatives will have a major contribution to:

  • the analysis of the ESR/ER training plans; they will comment on the type of career perspectives that could be open by a given training plan and, advice the fellows and their supervisors when required;


  •  the following up of the trainees achievements and solving putative problems (4.5.2 & 4.5.3). To go one step further and favour amicable relationship between ESR/ER and industrials, all ESR/ER will be patronized during the whole CROSS-TALK programme by a LABIP member who will informally discuss with her/him for instance during social events.

Practical preparation for professional integration in industry

CROSS-TALK is viewed by the industrials as a unique opportunity to access to a pool of young professionals active in cutting edge subjects relevant for agro-food industry and well trained. LABIP proposes 3 steps to ease the integration of ESR/ER in industry:

  • LABIP will organise and contribute to NSS sessions aimed at developing the ESR/ER awareness on trans-sectorial professional integration and develop their skills for job application. As an example, the topics of these sessions will include open forum and discussion on different career paths and interviewing for a position with industry.
  • Every year during the 4 years of the ITN project, LABIP will offer 24 man/months of secondment in its member companies to the ESR/ER. Prior NM, these offers will be disseminated in the network in order for the fellows to talk to their (co-) supervisors and apply. The NM will be the opportunity for the companies to interview the ESR applying to these offers and to discuss IPR and any practical issues. Altogether the application and interview process for secondment will put in practice the training regarding job application.
  • During the whole ITN project, associated industrials will disseminate job offers from their sector to ESR/ER and supervisors through the CROSS-TALK web site and newsletter. At the end of the fellows’ training i.e. at NM4 and WS4, a job fair including interviewing for positions will be organised.
  • LABIP will circulate job offers in the network not only during the 4 years of the ITN project but also during the following 3 years.

Scientific programme and emulation between fellows

As members of the Supervisory board, LABIP will contribute to the elaboration of the WS scientific programmes. LABIP members will systematically be included in the committee that will select on the basis of the poster abstracts, young researcher for oral presentations during CROSS-TALK WS. Balance between very good basic science work and applied studies will be respected. LABIP will give two prices to the best presentations made during these scientific workshops.


Key persons involved

Aat Ledeboer has been lead scientist at Unilever R&D responsible for all the research in the area of lactic acid bacteria, including probiotics. He joined Unilever in 1978 and has 25 years experience with LAB. After 2-year with Quest-Microlife in the USA (1989-1991), he became involved in several EU-funded projects on LAB. As Secretary of the LABIP since 1992, he has many contacts with suppliers and users of LAB and with University groups and Institutes working in that area. He has managed 5 large Dutch research projects on LAB. He is the (co)author of over 40 publications in leading scientific journals and inventor of 20 granted patents. He has organized for LABIP a variety of workshops with scientists, consumer organizations, and NGO’s. He retired from Unilever in 2009 and has now his own science consultancy company LESCICO.


After a PhD at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE, 1980) and a post-doc at the ETH of Zurich (CH), Annick Mercenier joined a small biotechnology company, Transgène S.A. (FR) for 14 years. In 1996, she joined the Institut Pasteur de Lille (FR) to set up the Department of Microbiology of Ecosystems while she was heading the Bacteriology laboratory (health applications of LAB). She has coordinated 3 successive EU programmes. In 2002, she has taken a position of group leader in the Nutrition and Health Department of the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne (CH). She has expertise in the genetics and metabolic pathways of gram-positive bacteria of industrial interest, mucosal immunology, probiotics and interaction between the microbiota and the host immune system.


3 key publications

  • Ledeboer, A.M., Nauta, A., Sikkema, J., Laulund, E., Niederberger, P. & Sybesma, W. (2007). Survival of probiotics. European Dairy Magazine 4, 31-32[Pubmed]
  • Lähteenmäki L. & Ledeboer A.M. (2006) Probiotics – the consumer perspective. Food Sci. & Technol. Bulletin 3, 47-50[Pubmed]
  • Wymer, P. (1999) The application of genetically modified lactic acid bacteria in food products in Europe. ISBN 90-76110-07-7[Pubmed]
Arla Food I&M S-105 46 Stockholm Dr. U. Svensson
Blessing Biotech GmbH D-70444 Stuttgart Dr. J. Groth
Chr. Hansen DK-2970 Horsholm Dr. E. Laulund
Coca-Cola Europe 84072 Au/Hallertau Dr. J. Hugenholtz
CSK food enrichment NL-8901 BA Leeuwarden Dr. W.C. Meijer
Danisco F-86220 Dange Saint Romain Dr P. Boyaval
Danone Research F-91767 Palaiseau Cedex Dr. G. Denariaz
DSM Food Specialities R&D NL-2600 MA Delft Dr. P. Bruinenberg
Firma E. Böcker KG D-32378 Minden (Westfalen) Dr. G. Böcker
Friesland Foods Corporate Research NL-7400 AB Deventer Dr. A. Nauta
Innogenetics N.V. B-9052 Gent Dr. A. van Broekhoven
Kerry Ingredients & Flavour NL-1320 AA Almere Dr. E. Vlegels
Lactina Ltd 1720 Bankya Dr. G. Georgiev
Lallemand SA F-31703 Blagnac Cedex Dr. J. Panes
Nestlé Research Centre CH-1800 Vevey Dr. A. Mercenier
NIZO food research NL-6710 BA Ede Dr. J. Wouters
PURAC NL-4200 AA, Gorinchem Dr. R. van Kranenburg
SENSUS Food Ingredients R&D NL-4700 BH Roosendaal Dr. P.D. Meyer
Techno High Technology B-5032 Gembloux (Isnes) Prof. Dr. P. Thonart
TI Food & Nutrition NL 6700 AN Wageningen Dr. M. Kleerbezem
TINE Norwegian Dairies BA N-4358 Kleppe Dr. J. Brendehaug
Unilever Research Laboratorium 3133 AT Vlaardingen Dr. J. Chapman
VALIO Ltd. R&D/Starter Cultures FI-00370 Helsinki Prof. Dr. T. Salusjärvi
Yakult Europe NL 1332 EN Almere Dr. S. Kudo