1 June 2015 15:14

Lancaster University, with support from leading retailer Waitrose, is launching a new on-line postgraduate course designed to enable food-chain professionals to meet the challenges of future food production.

Continuing on the success of previous Waitrose agronomy courses at the university’s Lancaster Environment Centre, the postgraduate course, entitled ‘Food Challenges for the 21st Century’, is designed to provide up-to-date training within the food supply industry and provide better understanding of a broad range of current and future food security issues in both domestic and international environments.

The flexible nature of the course, which began last week, has led to Waitrose suppliers being encouraged to apply for the three-year programme. On-line delivery will allow the course to be taken by students from anywhere in the world while they continue to work within the supply chain. Students will be offered a broad range of modules dealing with topics such as Food Security Challenges, Understanding Consumer Behaviour, Crop Production and Environmental Sustainability to Minimising Food Waste.

Students will benefit from the expertise of Lancaster University’s world-leading environmental researchers as well as trainers with industry-leading technical expertise drawn from within the Waitrose supply chain. Those who choose to complete all the available modules can achieve a Masters qualification.

Professor Bill Davies, Director of Studies for the training programme, said: “This is an important development for us, which focuses on what is a grand challenge for society.

“Waitrose has recognised the importance of enhancing the knowledge base within their supply chain and spreading best practice into the broader food security community. This is an opportunity to do that and more.”

Alan Wilson, Produce and Agronomy Technical Manager for Waitrose added: “With the world population predicted to exceed nine billion by 2040, the food supply chain, both in Britain and abroad, will be under an unprecedented strain and this needs to be addressed.

“It is a privilege to once again work alongside researchers and teachers at Lancaster University to deliver a topical and unique course that we hope will equip students with the know-how to tackle critical contemporary and future problems in the food supply chain.”

The scheme is now open for applications from Waitrose suppliers. The programme will be opened up to other individuals and organisations involved in food supply-chains from next year.

More details are available by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lec/postgraduate/cpd--short-courses/food-challenges-for-the-21st-century/