New £4.5M virtual research centre to address food security

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

The new research centre will investigate ‘world-leading technologies’, said Dr Foster
The new research centre will investigate ‘world-leading technologies’, said Dr Foster

Related tags: Global food security, Food, Technology

A virtual £4.5M food production research centre is being set up at the University of Nottingham as part of a £21M government investment to promote innovation in manufacturing.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food, which will be led by Dr Tim Foster, will open in September 2013. It will address the challenges of UK and global food security by developing “world-leading technologies, tools and processes tailored to the specific needs of individual food products”,​ said Foster.

Funding will come from a EPSRC grant, which forms part of a £45M package of investments in manufacturing research announced last month by universities minister David Willetts.

The work of the centre will cover the scientific and technological requirements of the food industry along the whole value chain, from post-farm gate to supermarket shelf. It will take a multi-disciplinary approach with inputs from process engineering, chemical engineering, material science, food science, microbiology and toxicology, life cycle analysis, information and communications technology and advanced manufacturing.

Sustainable manufacturing

The centre will combine Nottingham’s expertise in biomaterial processing with chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham and sustainable manufacturing from Loughborough University. 

In all, four new research centres will be set up to develop new ways of manufacturing in the fields of electronics, laser use in production processes, medical devices, as well as food production.

“The UK has a proud history of manufacturing but, to build on this success, industry needs access to the very latest science and technology,”​ said Willetts.

“This £45M package of investment will see our world-class research base investigating innovative new manufacturing equipment and techniques. This will support our industrial strategy in a range of important sectors, driving growth and keeping the UK ahead in the global race.”

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