3rd November 2016, 10:34am
New postgraduate course to deliver higher level skills for UK’s agri-food sector
The University of Lincoln's Riseholme Campus An innovative new postgraduate degree course is being launched in the heartland of the UK’s multi-billion pound agri-food sector to tackle an emerging shortage of higher level skills facing the food and farming industries.

The University of Lincoln’s new MSc in Agri-Food Technology, launching in September 2017, will educate a new generation of farmers, innovators, technicians, and business leaders by combining the management, science and technology associated with the modern food supply chain “from farm to fork”.

The new programme will be dedicated to educating the future workforce of the UK’s successful and growing agri-food sector.

Through its Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology (LIAT), the University of Lincoln is working to tackle strategic challenges facing UK agriculture and food manufacturing, developing new practices and technologies that can improve efficiency, sustainability, and reduce waste throughout the value chain.

Students on the MSc in Agri-food Technology will benefit from LIAT’s existing expertise in agriculture, based at the University’s Riseholme Campus. The course will also incorporate teaching in food manufacturing, life sciences and agri-robotics, and close working relationships with industry partners. The programme is specifically designed to educate students and help them succeed in a wide range of roles within the agri-food sector, from production management positions to research and development posts.

Professor Simon Pearson, Director of LIAT, said: “Increasingly farming and the food industries are becoming highly technical and automated sectors and the University of Lincoln is responding to the emerging skills gap to develop the highly skilled workforce that is needed. This has become even more urgent to enable the UK to lead the world in agri-food and agri-tech post-Brexit.

“The University has designed this new Master’s course in response to demands from the industry and in partnership with farmers and food manufacturing leaders. It will enable us to develop a new generation of highly skilled individuals through expert teaching and hands-on experience right here in Lincolnshire at the very heart of the UK’s agri-food sector.

“Students will be in a unique position to take advantage of our exceptional facilities, including our farmland and research field station at Riseholme, our food manufacturing centre at Holbeach and our world class science laboratories in Lincoln.”

At the main Brayford Pool Campus, the students will work with scientists, programmers and engineers from across the University to examine the science behind new agri-food developments. Just north of Lincoln at the University’s Riseholme Campus, students will work on an agricultural field station for testing farm innovations, completing crop trials, and experimenting in agri-robotics, water management and agronomy.

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing at Holbeach in southern Lincolnshire will continue to serve as the University’s gateway to the global food manufacturing industry, providing critical expertise on industry needs and hosting projects at its model food manufacturing plant.

The Master’s programme will be led by Dr Ramana Sundara, who joined the University of Lincoln with more than two decades of industry experience after working with Nestle as Manager of External Research Collaborations.

“Our students will all undertake an individual research project, either in industry or in academia,” Dr Sundara explained. “This will give them a fantastic opportunity to specialise in their chosen field, apply new knowledge in a real-life setting, and make invaluable contacts with potential employers in the region’s agricultural and food processing industries.

“The food and farming sector is so important to the country, and to our county. It represents one of our largest and oldest industries and in the UK, it is currently bigger than the aerospace and automotive sectors put together. This new postgraduate programme is designed to educate the workforce of the future. It will provide a comprehensive insight into the agri-food value chain and address challenges on our doorstep which have a truly global significance. It is our aim to produce a fantastic pool of home-grown, skilled workers with innovative approaches, who can continue to drive the UK’s agri-food industries forward.”

The new MSc in Agri-food Technology builds on the extensive BASIS and Crop Science training provided by the University for the region’s agricultural community over many years at Riseholme. Teaching will be informed by food manufacturing research projects delivered at Holbeach, biodiversity modules in the School of Life Sciences, and the agri-robotics work of the School of Engineering and School of Computer Science. The programme will also feature a variety of guest lectures from key figures in the farming and food processing industries.

For more information on the MSc in Agri-Food Technology at the University of Lincoln, visit: www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/liat.
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