The University today launched food innovation @ abertay (FIA), a dedicated technology transfer unit aimed at supporting small and medium-sized companies.
Supported by £80,000 from the European Regional Development Fund, FIA will offer academic and business expertise to companies looking to develop new, healthier products and new markets as well as make use of new technologies and training.
Business leaders from the industry joined representatives of Abertay and Scottish Enterprise for the launch today, which took place at Dudhope Castle in Dundee.
Figures from Scottish Enterprise show that there are around 1,600 food and drink sector workplaces in Scotland, employing 53,200 people – about 17% of the total Scottish manufacturing workforce. The industry is closely linked to Scotland’s £2.47 billion tourism sector, but surveys have highlighted some structural and regional weaknesses.
More than two out of three Scottish food and drink companies employ fewer than 50 people, and in Tayside both employment and export sales have been on a downward trend in recent years.
Food industry expert Jennifer Bryson, who has joined Abertay to run FIA, commented: “The Scottish food industry is still very fragmented and lacks scale, making it harder than it need be to compete at European and world level.
“Yet we have some of the world’s finest food and drink products, and a strong track record of creativity and quality – all the ingredients for success, in fact. FIA aims to support the creation of a world-class Food and Drink Innovation Network, bridging the gap between industry and academia so as to help more SMEs in eastern Scotland taste international success.”
FIA will offer consultancy and applied research in food and drink, particularly in health and nutrition; adding value through innovation and brand development; and the exploitation of growth market opportunities particularly in foodservice.
It will advise companies on how to use university food technology expertise better, how to be more creative with new product development, how to add value and how to extend shelf-life so as to open up markets further afield. The main targets will be premium growth segments of the foodservice sector and value-added meal solutions within the retail sector.
Abertay is well-equipped to host FIA. The University’s School of Contemporary Sciences includes a Health and Food Sciences Division containing among others, food technologists, microbiologists and chemists. As well as running degree programmes in food science and food product design, the Division already carries out a lot of consultancy and research work for the food and drink industry.
Current research projects include the use of ultrasound for disinfecting water supplies to food and drink plants, working with major distillers on ways to prevent the counterfeiting of spirits, and new ways of using and controlling yeast in the food industry. Academic staff involved in this research will support FIA’s work, along with other experts in food and consumer law and marketing from Abertay’s Dundee Business School.
Professor Mike Swanston, Vice-Principal (Academic Development) at Abertay University, said: “FIA is a good example of how a university can do more than provide educational programmes. Knowledge transfer, as it’s now known, is a crucial activity. We need to make sure that the centres of expertise and knowledge set up to support education are available to the industries in which graduates will work.
“I’m delighted that we have key representatives of the Scottish Food Industry here this afternoon. I’m sure that today will be the platform for a successful future relationship between the university and the food industry. That type of relationship is a key requirement for modern universities and one that Abertay is fully committed to.”
Ian Findlay, a manager in the SE Tayside business growth team, presented an overview of the work done by SE’s food and drink team. He said: “The food and drink processing sector is a major contributor to the Tayside economy, employing more than 2,500 people directly across most of the industry sub-sectors, including meat, poultry, game, ready meals, bakery, vegetables, soft fruit and bottled water. Its importance to the local economy is significantly greater as most of the raw materials are also sourced within Tayside.
“We work with a number of companies within the sector, giving them a wide-range of support and advice to help them increase their productivity and potential, and we welcome this initiative.’’
Speakers at today’s launch included:- Professor Mike Swanston, Vice-Principal (Academic Development), Abertay University;
Kevin Coe | alfa
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index started off well in 2018
22.02.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index ending 2017 on a positive note
24.01.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy