News article

23 September 2014

Resource efficiency funding aligns Industry's vision for Innovation in Engineering

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Today, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) welcomes the announcement from Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), who will invest up to £11 million into new business projects to improve the resource efficiency and resilience of the UK food and drink supply chain. The competition “Improving food supply chain efficiency” for collaborative research and development projects opens on 13th October 2014.

With the increasing pressures the industry faces to produce more from less with less resource, this new competition fund will enable the industry to be in the driving seat of delivering improvements throughout the supply chain e.g. through the reduction of waste, using resources such as energy, water and raw materials more efficiently or improving the productivity of food manufacturing and processing operations.

This new fund provides an opportunity to grow the UK's food engineering capability, through the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) at Sheffield Hallam University, by bring together industry and academia to research and develop new and improved resource efficient solutions for the sector.

The competition is open for applications from 13 October until noon on 3 December and a webinar for potential applications will be held on 15 October.

Gavin Darby CEO of Premier Foods and Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University said:
"Access to this fund will support new and innovative engineering solutions that will help improve the industry's competitiveness and ultimately deliver better resource efficiency. The Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering will play an important role as a hub for industry collaboration to address a range of industry-wide challenges."

Melanie Leech, Director General at Food and Drink Federation said:
“I am delighted the importance of the food industry has been recognised through this major new investment, which will allow businesses to collaborate to find industry-wide innovative engineering solutions, creating a more resilient and resource-efficient food and drink manufacturing supply chain. Through initiatives such as this fund and the development of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, industry will be able to unlock its growth potential and drive competitive advantage.”

For more information, please contact Anna Taylor, Avni Raval, Marita Upeniece or Fleur Williamson on 020 7420 7118/31/40/20

Notes for editors:

  1. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.
  2. Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK's innovation agency.
  3. Further information on the Improving food supply chain efficiency fund can be found here.
  4. The National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering aims to support industry growth through helping the sector to improve manufacturing capability, provide energy and waste saving solutions and deliver packaging innovations through leading-edge technology.
  5. The Centre will enable industry employees to undertake continuous professional development opportunities to help meet the skills challenges facing employers in the food and drink sector and will contain state of the art facilities for research and development.
  6. The Centre will contain state of the art facilities for research and development and by 2017 will be the leading facility in the UK, containing flexible, food and drink industry-grade production space and laboratories.
  7. The National Centre of Excellence at Sheffield Hallam University builds on the launch of the UK's first MEng Food Engineering degree.

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