A £6.9million funding package has been formally approved for Sheffield Hallam University to develop the UK’s first centre of excellence for food engineering.
The university will receive the funds following a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund, which provides funding for university-led projects that work together with businesses to support the UK’s economic recovery.
The money will be used to create the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, which will be developed at the University in collaboration with the Food and Drink Federation and National Skills Academy for Food and Drink. Industry partners, including Cargill, Dalehead Foods, Mars, McCain Foods, Nestlé, Premier Foods, Warburtons and William Jackson Food Group, will contribute equipment, facilities and mentors or advisors.
The centre will be fully operational by 2017 and will see the University become a leading education provider for the food and drink industry. It will include state of the art facilities , as well as research and development services to address efficiency in food production and the manufacturing process. The centre also aims to address the growing skills shortage in the food manufacturing sector.
Sheffield Hallam also recently announced that it was working with a variety of industry partners and the Food and Drink Federation to set up the UK’s first dedicated food and drink engineering degree, which will start in September 2014.
Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Science at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We are delighted that this funding will go ahead as planned. The new Centre of Excellence for Food and Drink Engineering at Sheffield Hallam will play a key strategic role in developing advanced engineering capability for the food and drink industry, providing a major competitive advantage to this important and significant sector of the UK economy.”
Head of the Department for Engineering and Maths at Sheffield Hallam, Dr Martin Howard, said: “The centre will support the food and drink industry to develop and implement new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment to keep the UK at the forefront of capability and efficiency in a very competitive sector. It will also enhance the development of a highly educated and knowledgeable workforce, through staff development and supporting employees with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.”
He added: “This project builds on our existing strong track record of providing excellent research and knowledge transfer, and of working in partnership with industry to develop education programmes that are designed to support companies by creating highly skilled and employable graduates, ready for the world of work.”
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