14 November 2016 12:50

Waitrose is to lead a £2m collaborative training partnership with Lancaster University to address global food security.

The award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is for the Waitrose Partnership, which includes 12 international food production and supply companies led by Waitrose, together with Lancaster, the University of Reading, University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy the Rt. Honourable Greg Clark said: “Furthering collaboration between government, academia and industry is a key part of the industrial strategy we’re developing. Collaborative Training Partnerships will boost the UK’s world-leading reputation for research and science while increasing the talent and expertise of our workforce in the UK and providing new opportunities for the science leaders of tomorrow.”

Lead researcher Dr Carly Stevens from the Lancaster Environment Centre welcomed the award.

“This collaboration provides an exciting opportunity for Lancaster University to contribute towards the training of a new generation of scientists who will be uniquely equipped to tackle the challenges of food security.”

The partnership will fund 15 four year studentships on three themes:

  • Sustainable crop production
  • Sustainable soil and water
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture

Alan Wilson, technical manager in agronomy for Waitrose Ltd said he was pleased with the award.

“This is a really exciting development and supports our proven collaborative approach led by the Waitrose Agronomy Group, involving academic engagement, worldwide farm assessment and a postgraduate professional training programme. Our evidence shows that there is a clear need to provide new thinking to address the challenges involved in delivering a more secure and sustainable food system.”