Planning approved for new food engineering centre

Planning permission has been granted for Sheffield Hallam University's new home for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

The new Centre will sit alongside Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, and will become the latest University facility on the site, following in the footsteps of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).

Plans for the research-led centre include laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces with work focusing on engineering processes of food production and addressing an industry recognised shortage of food engineering expertise.

The application has now been approved by Sheffield City Council and will play a strategic role in developing advanced engineering capability for the food and drink industry, providing a major competitive advantage to the sector.

Work is expected to begin on site in September 2018 with the centre due to open in June 2019.

The Centre is designed to tackle food industry challenges such as productivity, producing more for less, minimising waste and reducing costs. It will support the food and drink industry by developing new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment and creating a knowledgeable workforce with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.

The centre, and the associated Master's degree, MEng Food Engineering, are supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and have been developed in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, along with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Dr Martin Howarth, director of the centre, said: "The centre will support the food and drink industry to develop and implement new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment, to keep the UK at the forefront of capability and efficiency in a very competitive sector.

"It will also enhance the development of a highly educated and knowledgeable workforce, through staff development and supporting employees with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.

"This project builds on our existing strong track record of providing excellent research and knowledge transfer, and of working in partnership with industry to develop education programmes that are designed to support companies by creating highly skilled and employable graduates, ready for the world of work."

Rachel Clark, director of trade and investment at Sheffield City Region, said: “I’m so glad that we’ve reached this crucial step in bringing the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering to our region.

“Sheffield City Region is famed worldwide for its excellence in innovation and strong heritage in manufacturing and engineering. In collaboration with our city region’s two universities, our businesses are driving forward cutting-edge technology and building on that reputation, ensuring that we’re increasingly becoming a place where companies want to invest, grow and thrive.

“This centre will also be a major piece in the creation of the Health Innovation Campus, a public-private partnership which will lead the way in research and drive wider growth and development across our forward-thinking city region.”

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