Business and Universities Combine to Boost UK Food Economy
Following the publication of the BIS-Defra-DfID UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies on Monday 22nd July 2013, the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) has today announced a forthcoming Task Force which will look at ways of boosting the UK’s food economy through world-class collaboration between businesses, universities and government.
The Task Force will be co-chaired by Justin King, Chief Executive, Sainsbury’s, and Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire and formerly Principal of the Royal Veterinary College. Along with expert colleagues drawn from across industry, politics and academia, this group will focus on the following question: How do we ensure that universities are able to provide the high-quality intellectual and innovative graduates and research the UK needs to contribute to a highly competitive food industry?
The Task Force’s ambition is to secure a clear and strategic alignment between the UK Government’s and devolved administrations’ industrial strategies and world-class business-university collaboration in the food sector.
Justin King, Chief Executive, Sainsbury’s said “The agri-food sector is one of the most important industries in the UK which is why it is important to plan for the future now. Last week Sainsbury’s proudly launched a graduate scheme dedicated to British agriculture, which adds to the 80 graduate placements we’ve offered in just the last five years. But we need to continue to attract and develop young talent and back up new technologies. This will ensure we continue to provide quality food produced to the high standards that customers rightly expect. I am delighted to co-chair this Task Force which will help address this challenge.”
“Profitable and sustainable Agriculture and food industries are vital to the UK and they must be resilient to extremes of weather and other disrupting events. These industries require innovative graduates and ground breaking research to remain competitive and responsive; this initiative will support that agenda.” added Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice Chancellor, University of Hertfordshire and co-chair of the Task Force.
Dr David Docherty, CEO of the NCUB, said, “Industry and higher education must unite to tackle the challenges of creating and sustaining a world-leading food sector, and this powerful Task Force will make a major contribution to economic development in the sector.”
George Freeman MP, Life Science Adviser to the Government and Chair of the All Party Group for Science and Technology in Agriculture, added “The UK’s world leading food industry and globally renowned science research base have a unique opportunity to work together, with the Government’s help, to reach new emerging markets. I welcome the establishment of this Task Force in response to the Government’s new Agri-Tech Strategy and the work it will do to ensure the UK’s expertise in the food sector remains revolutionary.”
Notes for editors
NCUB food task force steering group:
|Task Force Co-Chairs|
|Professor Quintin McKellar||Vice-Chancellor||University of Hertfordshire|
|Justin King||Chief Executive||Sainbury’s|
|Professor Tim Benton||UK Champion for Global Food Security & Professor of Population Ecology||University of Leeds|
|Dr Paul Burrows||Director, Corporate Policy and Strategy||BBSRC|
|Dr Mike Bushell||Principal Scientific Adviser||Syngenta|
|Dr David Docherty||Chief Executive Officer||NCUB|
|Professor Peter Downes||Vice Chancellor||University of Dundee|
|Professor Chris Elliott||Director, Institute for Global Food Security||Queen’s University Belfast|
|Iain Ferguson||Chairman||Berendsen plc|
|Professor David Greenaway||Vice Chancellor||University of Nottingham|
|Richard Greenhalgh||Former Chairman||Unilever|
|Dr David Llewellyn||Principal||Harper Adams University College|
|Professor Duncan Maskell||Head of Department and Marks & Spencer Professor of Farm Animal Health, Food Science & Food Safety||University of Cambridge|
|Robin Mills||Managing Director – Chartwells||Compass Group UK & Ireland|
|Dr Maurice Moloney||Director and Chief Executive||Rothamsted Research|
|Professor Nigel Scollan||Head of Animal Systems and Waitrose Professor of Sustainable Agriculture||Aberystwyth University Belfast|
|Professor Mark Smith||Vice Chancellor||Lancaster University|
|Paul Willgoss||Head Of Technology For Food||Marks & Spencer|
|James Withers||Chief Executive||Scotland Food & Drink|
National Centre for Business and Universities:
Vision: Increasing the prosperity and wellbeing of the UK through world-leading university and business collaboration.
Mission: By effective collaboration nurture the right talent, innovation and expertise for the UK’s future growth.
Drawing on the 25 years’ experience of our predecessor body, the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), NCUB is committed to a programme of research, policy development and practical partnerships. From facilitating collaborative R&D, to developing the entrepreneurial and employability skills of students at all stages of their education, NCUB is working to support UK business and higher education in a competitive global market.
NCUB’s Leadership Council includes many of the UK’s most successful businesses and universities.
For further information, please contact Sally Devine, on 0207 383 7668 or by emailing Sally.Devine@ncub.co.uk