£6.9m grant awarded to Sheffield Hallam University to boost skills shortage in food industry

04 September 2013

Sheffield Hallam University has been awarded £6.9m to address the growing shortage of skills in the food industry.

The university’s successful bid for funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund will be used to create the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering which is due to open in 2017.

The university will work with the Food and Drink Federation, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink as well as with industry partners including Cargill, Dalehead Foods, Mars, McCain Foods, Nestle, Premier Foods, Warburtons and William Jackson Food Group.

The aim of the centre is to not only boost the food and drink sector but to also look at improving efficiency in food production and manufacturing processes.

This is another success for the university which also won the tender for the contract to develop a four year masters degree - MEng Food Engineering to address the shortage of skilled workers in the food and drink industry.

Both projects builds on the university’s existing strong track record of providing excellent research and knowledge transfer as well as working in partnership with industry to develop education programmes with the aim of creating highly skilled and employable graduates.

Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the faculty of arts, computing, engineering and science at Sheffield Hallam, explained: "The new centre of excellence for food and drink engineering 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."

Dr Martin Howarth, head of department for engineering and maths at Sheffield Hallam, added: "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".