The course is aimed at Italian and foreign students interested in topics related to the knowledge of food from a cultural point of view, its industrial and artisan transformation, the enhancement of products and recipes, animal and plant biodiversity, their link with the territory, the communication of gastronomy with traditional and innovative tools.
The University of Parma has activated the first Public Degree Course in Gastronomic Science in Italy, which has distinguished itself for the strong scientific content of its training. At the time of planning the Degree Course in Gastronomic Science there was no specific degree class that could include the many functional (and essential) disciplines for the formation of the figure of the Gastronome and the new Degree was placed in the class that seemed to be closest to the skills of the new profession, the L/20, then L/26 (Food Science and Technology). The University of Parma has placed the knowledge of food, in its most varied forms, among those characterising its training vocation. Training in the same sector has reached levels of excellence in Parma.
In particular, the teaching of Gastronomic Science is, also thanks to its relative seniority, the most prestigious in Italy. Proof of this is the large number of students enrolled in the Degree Course in Gastronomic Science, which has seen uninterrupted growth since 2004, with an explosion that has tripled in the last three years, following the introduction of the open access to the course; an influx of 73-75% of students from regions other than Emilia Romagna, a trend well above the national level as described in the Biennial Report on the State of the University System and Research 2019. Naturally, the marked vocation of the Parma area in terms of food quality, represented by the Parma food industries, the strong concentration of products with Designation of Origin and the award of the title of UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, also contributed to this result. Such a territory therefore represents the perfect context for training high level professional figures in the management of food systems and gastronomy. Over the years, in the light of the training experience and the range of activities that the graduates were called upon to carry out, it became clear that L/26, which was very rich in scientific content but completely devoid of humanistic content, was insufficient to allow an easy and adequate training of the professional figure in question. From several points of view, therefore, the academic world felt the need for an improvement, for the updating of the class, that is the creation of a new ad hoc class. This second solution eventually prevailed and in the academic year 2018/19 the first Degree Courses of the new class, L/GASTR, were activated. It is therefore inevitable and necessary to adapt the training by including it in a more suitable degree class to allow the use of SDSs in line with the requirements of the class regarding the distribution of SDSs between Basic and Characterising Training Activities. An adjustment that allows for improvements aimed at balancing the relationship between scientific and humanistic teachings. The areas of employment are multiple and susceptible to innovation that more or less directly affects all sectors. These include: the organisation of the supply chain, communication along the supply chain, the organisation of events, the food and wine promotion of businesses and local authorities with traditional and innovative media, the marketing of typical products, sector journalism, the management of agritourism companies, the purchasing function for large-scale distribution companies, etc.
The University of Parma, which has always been attentive to food, has developed over time specific skills linked to its territorial vocation. In recent years, moreover, it has been able to witness a revival of initiatives that has brought Parma onto the national and international scene in the field that is most congenial to it, which is agri-food and gastronomy. In addition to a flourishing number of trade fair initiatives and the promotion of typical local products, the initiative that most struck public opinion was the nomination of the city to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for Gastronomy: an event that gave momentum to other initiatives that had been in pectore for some time, such as "Gola Gola" and "Parma, io ci ci sto". Beyond the success of these initiatives, the aspect that impressed the most was the willingness to work together with the various components of the territory, in the awareness that only by combining the many resources of the territory itself can we achieve the overall revival result that can allow the maintenance, in a sustainable way, of the position and visibility gained.