Engineering centre plans to inspire the next generation

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Kendrick said the CoE was a fantastic example of collaboration between industry and academia
Kendrick said the CoE was a fantastic example of collaboration between industry and academia

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The National Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Food Engineering was officially launched at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) last month

Building on the launch of the UK’s first food engineering degree (MEng) at the university, the new CoE which – received nearly £7M from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to set up – aims to become a world-class facility that will support industry growth through improvements in manufacturing capability.

It will provide engineering solutions for energy and waste efficiencies and include the latest technologies and approaches to skills development to inspire the next generation of food engineers.

‘Engagement is vital’

“Although the Centre of Excellence has received strong industry backing from food and drink manufacturers and machinery suppliers, wider industry engagement is vital to the success of this project,”​ said Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at the Food and Drink Federation.

“The Centre’s strong focus on mechanical engineering will be vital in helping industry improve manufacturing processes for the future and address the current skills gap by providing continuous professional development for existing engineers and exposing future engineers studying the MEng Food Engineering degree to the latest technology.”

The launch event, on November 28, heard from Professor Roger Eccleston, pro-vice chancellor for Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences, SHU, who described the vision behind the CoE. The CoE’s director Martin Howarth explained how this would be delivered in practice.

‘Latest technologies’

Fiona Kendrick, chief executive of Nestlé UK & Ireland, outlined how the CoE would deliver engineering solutions for the industry, while Nestlé’s chief engineer Martin Howarth said it would introduce students to the latest technologies.

Kendrick said the CoE would “create world-leading capability and deliver innovation and skills solutions for UK food and drink manufacturing”.​ She described the £6.9M investment as a “breakthrough moment for our industry”.

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