The Mars R&D Award is our signature, global program recognizing outstanding contributions that have delivered business impact. With more than 500 nominations, we’re introducing you to our final 12 recipients across four award categories.
Dr. Vincent Biourge has spent almost his entire post-doctoral career in pet nutrition research and development, and we were lucky that he chose to join the Mars family of businesses with Royal Canin in 1994.
He graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège, Belgium in 1985. He stayed on as an assistant in the nutrition department for two more years before moving to the Veterinary Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and later to the Teaching Hospital of the University of California, Davis as a PhD/resident in clinical nutrition. In 1993, he got his PhD in Nutrition from the University of California and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. In 1994, Dr. Biourge returned to Europe, where he joined the Research Center of Royal Canin in Aimargues in charge of scientific communication and nutrition. From 1999 to 2007, Dr. Biourge led the nutritional research programs of Royal Canin. Vincent was nominated by his peers for his contribution to improving the Health & Nutrition of Pets.
Vincent was one of just three Associates that were recently recognized with an R&D Award in the Lifetime Contribution category. Vincent’s passion for pets punctuates his three decades in the pet nutritional space.
When asked which project he’s been most proud of in his career with Petcare, Vincent says:
“It might sound strange, but for me, it’s our feline neutered range,” he explains. “When it was launched in 1998, this category did not exist. One of our major competitors even advertised that they didn’t believe in it. Now this category is present everywhere around the world, and it’s been introduced in canine products. With the size and breed ranges, it really illustrates the vision and leadership of Royal Canin. It’s innovation that benefited the largest number of pets.”
Vincent will be the first to say that innovation doesn't happen in a vacuum.
“It’s always the result of teamwork,” he says. “Most of our innovations target improvement in our dietary solutions. To achieve this, we review available information, discuss with internal and external stakeholders and make propositions to the development team. Sometimes, we want to be disruptive; we want to develop a new solution that responds to a need from the field. It's like a melting pot, and suddenly good ideas are popping up and a completely new product or product range is born. To reach maturity, it will need several validations and to be sold to the markets. We work collectively.”