InnovGastronomy - Collaborative Laboratory for Innovation in Gastronomy

Principal researcher: Joana Lucas

External principal researcher: Paulina Mata (NOVA FCT)

Research group: Practices and Politics of Culture


Food | Heritage | Sustainability | Tourism

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia


NOVA FCT (coord.); NOVA Medical School; MagIC – Research Centre in Information Management; CINTESIS; LAQV - Laboratório Associado para a Química Verde; Município de Oeiras; Vila Galé – Sociedade de Empreendimentos Turísticos, SA; Associação Terra Maronesa – Comunidade Prática para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável; A Taberna da Rua das Flores Lda.; Insonso Salmarim, lda; Comer Devagar, Lda.; Edições do Gosto, publicações unipessoal Lda.; Professional Cooks Association of Portugal - ACPP



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Gastronomy and Tourism are strongly connected and face common challenges and opportunities, which need to be addressed with a multidisciplinary approach. It is for this purpose that NOVA, through its Tourism and Hospitality Platform ‘toho’, is promoting the creation of the ‘InnovGastronomy CoLAB’, which will be located on the grounds of Oeiras’ municipality, namely in the ‘Palacio Flor da Murta’, The location will be a tremendous asset to the CoLAB as besides hosting the CoLAB and its team, it will allow for many activities to be organized on site; cooking classes, workshops, food festivals can all take place on the premises, showcasing the CoLAB’s activities to partners and public.
The main objective of the CoLAB is to address specific challenges by working on concrete, innovative solutions, aggregating the players of both the gastronomy and tourism ecosystems, primarily where they cross over. The CoLAB aims at reinforcing the creation of value in food products and tourism and gastronomy services, by improving the knowledge about their historic and regional roots, their nutrition, and by improving the quality of training and education in gastronomy. Portuguese gastronomy has an important potential for the promotion of tourism and is also as a tool for regional development. A team will be created for this purpose, composed of NOVA researchers from its different schools, collaborating with private and public entities as well as associations and firms from both sectors. The founding members of the association will be an excellent representation of both the gastronomic and tourism ecosystem as listed in section 2. Furthermore, the CoLAB will be supported by organizations such as the Portuguese Tourism Board, the Avillez group, the Portuguese National Nutrition association as well as prominent food journalists who will all gain a vested interested through input, testing and piloting outputs of the CoLAB.
The CoLAB will address actual trends, challenges and needs by pursuing innovative solutions to be tested in the market. This will be done by leveraging the strong competencies of NOVA’s different schools in the research fields of Heritage, Digital Transformation, Sustainability, Health and Management, whilst working with the main players in the field of gastronomy & tourism. The CoLAB will also integrate the dissemination of findings and solutions as an integral part of its objectives, by developing training, regional, and national projects in product development with the food producers and the tourism and gastronomy agents.
The current challenges the Portuguese gastronomy faces are multiple. Covid had a devastating economic impact on tourism and consequently restaurants and the gastronomic value chain were amongst the most impacted. The pandemic hit in a moment that Portugal’s gastronomic scene was strongly rising, with new restaurants opening constantly, displaying the vast Portuguese heritage in new innovative forms. Though the pandemic is still lingering, gastronomy and tourism are gaining momentum again because of people being keen to go back to traveling, socializing and pursuing gastronomic experiences. It will be important to support the gastronomic ecosystem in its activities to create a dynamic food scene, allowing Portuguese gastronomy to gain international recognition, whilst being an asset to the country’s appeal.
The InnovGastronomy CoLAB’s vision is to put Portugal on the forefront of gastronomic valorization through research and innovation, enriching its competitiveness as a destination whilst contributing to the country is social, environmental, and economic sustainability. It is also to contribute to regional development by creating pilot projects that value regional heritage and improve the value of local products through research and by creating gastronomic itineraries. Delivering better and more informed training for hotel chains in how to cook traditional Portuguese recipes; creating regional gastronomic itineraries and immersive gastronomic experiences with municipalities, in order to create more value associated to regional gastronomy; working with food producers in improving the nutrition characteristics of the gastronomic products; create a better story telling for products and experiences based on historic and anthropologic research; are different outputs that will result from this CoLAB, with a string potential of creating economic value.
The mission is to leverage research in the fields of heritage, food science and nutrition, in close cooperation with the market players, to create innovation and value for the Gastronomic ecosystem.


Bruno Moreira Leite (NOVA FCT)

Cláudia Marques (NOVA Medical School)

Conceição Calhau (NOVA Medical School)

Diana Teixeira (NOVA Medical School)

PhD students Full members

Inês Mestre

Practices and Politics of Culture

Marta Silvestre (NOVA Medical School)