`University of Jaén Aspires to Be Global Reference for Olive Oil Sector - Olive Oil Times

University of Jaén Aspires to Be Global Reference for Olive Oil Sector

Mar. 7, 2016
Erin Ridley

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Last November, Spain’s University of Jaén appointed a new Social Council President, who, appro­pri­ately, has his feet very firmly planted in the olive oil indus­try. Francisco Vañó, gen­eral man­ager of the Spanish olive oil pro­ducer Castillo de Canena, stepped into his new role with a strong com­mit­ment to tak­ing the uni­ver­sity, and par­tic­u­larly its rela­tion­ship with the olive oil sec­tor, to the next level.

At Madrid’s World Olive Oil Exhibition, Vañó elab­o­rated on the con­nec­tion between the school and the region’s famous prod­uct, reveal­ing the uni­ver­si­ty’s objec­tives both on a local and global level and build­ing on the strong link between the school and its com­mu­nity.

Jaén is a sea of olive trees,” Vañó began, echo­ing how the region is so often described. Olive oil pro­duc­tion is Jaén’s most impor­tant sec­tor. The region’s boasts 325 of the country’s 1,761 olive mills and coop­er­a­tives, which pro­duce 27.38 per­cent of the nation’s olive oil.


With olive oil pro­duc­tion such a cru­cial part of the region’s econ­omy and cul­ture, Vañó empha­sized the impor­tance of the university’s role as a liv­ing entity within the com­mu­nity, work­ing toward the sector’s devel­op­ment.

The uni­ver­sity ful­fills this through research, knowl­edge trans­fer, and train­ing, all made pos­si­ble via 39 olive oil-sec­tor-ded­i­cated inves­tiga­tive groups, a col­lec­tion of edu­ca­tional pro­grams, includ­ing a doc­tor­ate and mas­ters, and other ini­tia­tives.

Francisco Vañó spoke at the World Olive Oil Exhibition in Madrid (Photo: WOOE)

These objec­tives reach beyond the bor­ders of Jaén, too. The ulti­mate goal is to become a point of ref­er­ence glob­ally as an inter­na­tional cen­ter for inves­ti­ga­tion. Enter the university’s Center for Advanced Studies of Olive Grove and Olive Oils.

The cen­ter brings together researchers, resources and equip­ment that enable devel­op­ment and inno­va­tion in the olive oil sec­tor. The desired result: to ele­vate the level of tech­nol­ogy in the sec­tor, build rela­tion­ships with sim­i­lar research cen­ters in Spain and abroad, and to be an endur­ing bench­mark of qual­ity in the field of research at an inter­na­tional level – among other objec­tives.

Back in November, Vañó made clear his devo­tion to the uni­ver­sity: I am going to ded­i­cate myself to the University of Jaén, because it is truly the engine of dynamism, progress, devel­op­ment, and the future of the province.” And, it would seem, an impor­tant part of the future beyond the province as well.

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