University leads on training scheme to sustain the future of food quality and health
Release Date 23 May 2011
The University of Reading is one of the lead partners in a major scheme to ensure the agri-food industry has the key skills needed to meet the challenges posed by national and global food security.
Reading has been selected as the lead institution by the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) to run an Advanced Training Partnership on food quality and health.
The initiative brings together more than 20 foremost industry partners, including Coca-Cola, Waitrose, Mars and Marks & Spencer, who will work with the University of Reading to develop the skills needed to support the production of quality food from farm to fork. Reading will be working with the University of Birmingham, Leatherhead Food Research and Rothamsted Research to deliver a flexible programme of teaching and training.
A key aspect of the scheme is a new Professional Doctorate to be taken by researchers currently working within food and agricultural industries. The qualification is intended for the most talented individuals who have the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow, and will help the industry respond to the increasingly complex context in which food is produced and consumed.
The University and its partners will also develop a formal Masters qualification and offer continuing professional development through taught modules, tailored programmes and active research.
Dr Richard Frazier, Director of the Food Quality and Health ATP at Reading, said: "Our partnership brings together leading experts working on the food chain from production to consumption, from academia and industry, focused on delivering high quality and real-world relevant training to support the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable production of high quality and healthy food.
"Our consultation has revealed the need for a 'without boundaries' approach to training. Our aim is to develop the advanced skills of the food industry leaders of tomorrow and improve their understanding of the complexities of broader issues outside their current specialisms. We want to enable them to work together in a more integrated way, so that they may drive forward innovation and strengthen the competitiveness of the UK food industry."
The University of Reading has a strong reputation for education and research in agri-food science and is ranked first in the UK. Its expertise covers primary agricultural and horticultural production and extends through food processing technology, human and animal nutrition to modelling and understanding consumers' dietary choice. In addition it also has significant expertise in the environmental sciences allied to food production, soils and agro-ecology. This wealth of expertise is co-ordinated by the University's Centre for Food Security.
Cheryl White, Head of Food Technology at Waitrose, said: "We are very happy to be working with the University of Reading and their partners in such an important area. This is a great opportunity for the agri-food sector to engage in cutting edge research and to ensure its scientists and researchers has the right mix of skills to meet the challenges posed by food security."
The BBSRC has also funded three further training programmes, which focus on sustainable and efficient food production, livestock health and production and on the establishment of a strategic training hub for the advancement of the UK agri-food industry.
For more information please contact Rona Cheeseman, press officer, on 378 7388 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors
The University of Reading is rated as one of the top 200 universities in the world (QS World Rankings 2010).
The University of Reading is one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The University is ranked in the top 20 UK higher education institutions in securing research council grants worth nearly £10 million from EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, AHRC and BBSRC. In the latest Research Assessment Exercise (2008), over 87% of the University's research was deemed to be of international standing. Areas of particular research strength recognised include meteorology and climate change, typography and graphic design, archaeology, philosophy, food biosciences, construction management, real estate and planning,as well as law.