Provided by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Research and Innovation, the funding will be used to provide for 1,700 PhD researchers in academia across the country over a five-year period – including food scientists.
Funding has been awarded to the University of Reading to lead a consortium of universities and research institutions (see box) in a doctoral training partnership (DTP) designed to benefit the next generation of food microbiologists – FoodBioSystems.
‘Enable academic progress to flourish’
Professor Lisa Methven from the University of Reading said: “The world faces unprecedented challenges in relation to our food supply. With more than 7bn mouths to feed – coupled with the threat of climate change and the rise in diet-related diseases – this new DTP will enable academic progress to flourish, to face these challenges head-on and innovate across the agrifood sector.
“This partnership will train doctoral researchers to take a multidisciplinary approach to challenges within food systems, while enabling them to carry out world-leading research in the agrifood sector. They will move UK research beyond farm to fork to enrich our understanding of the roots of a healthy and sustainable food supply for everyone.”
Next generation of food scientists
The DTP will draw upon its affiliate partners to curate expertise and create training opportunities across the food and drink supply chain to develop the next generation of bioscientists with in-depth knowledge and technical proficiency of food systems.
Methven said the output of graduates and researchers from the scheme would become the urgently needed experts able to transform the food value chain and address challenges of sustainability, efficacy, authenticity and safety in food production systems, while delivering better nutrition and concomitant health benefits for society.
Cranfield University Professor Leon Terry and co-director of the DTP added: “The UK agrifood industry has a fundamental skills gap. This new and much-needed FoodBioSystems DTP will provide the next generation of scientists and ideas for the future.”