New research institute to improve productivity in agri-food sectors

Seeking to support and enhance productivity in the agri-food sectors, the University of Lincoln has today announced the creation of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology.

The Institute will capitalise on the University’s growing research and educational activity in the agri-tech and food sectors, including food manufacturing, agri-robotics, agronomy and animal science.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, said: “Productivity is a key aim for the UK Government and is vital to the success of our economy. The agri-food sectors are at the heart of our county of Lincolnshire and productivity lies at the heart of these sectors. Innovations in autonomous systems and robotics and other scientific innovations will drive that productivity.”

The Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology will focus on the development of technologies to improve efficiency, sustainability, and reduce waste throughout the food pipeline, from farm to retailer. It will draw on facilities and expertise across the University of Lincoln.

Around the world, approximately 800 million people – or one in nine – are chronically undernourished, according latest estimates by the United Nations, which has set the goal of ending world hunger by 2030.

In the UK, food prices have risen by 18 per cent in real terms since 2007. More than half (51 per cent) of the population are concerned about the cost of food, data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows.

Professor Andrew Hunter, the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Science, said: “As populations grow, so the challenge in providing sufficient food will intensify.

“The University of Lincoln is in a unique position to develop this new interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to meeting this challenge. Our academic expertise and the exceptional nature of our facilities, including parkland, farmland, woodland and watercourses, alongside our food manufacturing centre and world class science laboratories, provide a major opportunity to contribute to this global cause.”

At the main Brayford Pool Campus, scientists, programmers and engineers from across the University’s College of Science will collaborate on projects, utilizing the state-of-the-art facilities in the centre of Lincoln.

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.

At the University’s Riseholme Campus, near Lincoln, the Institute will develop an agricultural field station for testing farm innovations, supporting training courses, crop trials, and experimentation, including in agri-robotics, water management and agronomy. Riseholme will also continue to provide an outstanding research resource for the University’s biologists, zoologists, animal behaviourists, forensic anthropologists and computer scientists.

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