Unilever is helping to develop the environmental scientists and toxicologists of the future by teaching a full module as part of Lancaster University masters degrees.

In a unique collaboration between industry and academia, scientists from the multinational giant taught a group of Lancaster University students over ten lectures and five workshops during a five-week programme on ‘Safety and Environmental Impact Assessment: An Industrial Perspective’.

Students were able to receive a unique insight into real-world issues that industry is tackling. The module covered the link between science theory and industry by examining chemical and environmental impact safety assessments.

The course was delivered exclusively by Unilever scientists who have internationally pioneered state-of-the-art biological approaches that look at the risk from chemical exposures in the environment and in consumer products.

Professor Frank Martin, of Lancaster University’s Environment Centre, said: “It was a really remarkable industry-led module taught exclusively by people from different disciplines in Unilever.

“This unique collaboration enabled the students to have novel insights into the real-life relevance of the theory they are studying at Lancaster University. Unilever’s involvement has enabled the students to see that this is a hugely important area for industry and that there will be a lot of opportunities for them as they start their careers.

“It is fantastic that a large company like Unilever is engaging with academia. It is enormously beneficial for our students and we hope that it could lead to more opportunities for us to work together in the future.”

Lancaster University masters student Stefan Schade, who studied the module, said: “This collaboration between Lancaster University and Unilever is putting the very wind in the sails of a new generation of toxicologists and is setting a benchmark for other academic institutions with its highly quality syllabus.”

The Unilever-taught module adds to links between the two organisations, which has included collaborative research projects and workshops to help prepare graduates for the jobs market.

Professor Paul Carmichael from Unilever said: “We believe this is the first course of its kind teaching 21st century safety sciences with an industrial relevance and it comes at a time when toxicology is dramatically changing.

“It is a win-win for all involved with Lancaster students fast-tracked to the new ideas and processes and thereby becoming an informed cohort of safety and environmental scientists who can actively contribute to the future needs of Industry.”

To find out more about Unilever visit http://www.unilever.co.uk/ and www.tt21c.org