Queen's Anniversary Prize awarded to The University of Nottingham

30th Nov 2011

The University of Nottingham has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, for its research on Global Food Security — which includes everything from growing more crops with less fertiliser, to improving the nutrition, safety and taste of food on the plate.

Worldwide, around a billion people are hungry and nearly 200 million children are severely malnourished. With the world’s population expected to increase from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, coupled with climate change, the challenge of feeding the world has never been more pressing.

The University of Nottingham is home to one of the largest communities of plant, crop, animal and food science experts in the UK, carrying out world-leading research to find new ways of feeding a hungry planet.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is part of the UK’s national honours system, and as such is the most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic institution. The latest round of the biennial scheme is particularly special because it will be formally awarded in 2012 — the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year.

Formal presentation will take place at Buckingham Palace in February 2012, when Her Majesty The Queen will present the award to Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.

Professor Greenaway said: “Receiving this award in recognition of the global impact of our research into food security is a great honour for the University, and acknowledges the outstanding contribution made by colleagues in such an important field.”

The Queen’s Award summary includes the following:

“The University’s School of Biosciences… carries out wide-ranging work in the area of bio-fortification, with impact for the nutritional quality, drought resistance and crop yields and for protecting crops against disease. The University undertakes substantial international and extension work through its campuses in China and Malaysia, enabling scientists to work on both temperate and tropical crops in their natural environments.

“The University’s combination of fundamental and applied science, and its unusually wide span of activity — taking in plant and crops, animals and veterinary science, food and nutrition, energy and environment and the economics and politics of food security — has enabled it to generate more holistic solutions to pressing issues in global agriculture. Studies of plant growth have led to increased nitrogen-use efficiency and drought resistance in wheat, while research on metabolic links between nutrition and reproduction has increased pregnancy rate and longevity in dairy cows.

“The University is widely recognised for its strong contribution to sustainable agricultural production within the UK and internationally, embracing academic excellence and practical farming… The work is both strategic and of practical benefit to the farming industry and society in general.”

The University's campuses in Malaysia and China are playing a growing part in its Global Food Security research. In June 2011, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus announced that it was to co-host the first ever Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) in partnership with the Government of Malaysia.

The centre, specifically designed to evaluate underutilised crops from all corners of the world, will be at the heart of an international effort to seek out which crops have the potential to be grown for human sustenance or on a commercial basis for food, pharmaceuticals or biomaterials in the climates of the future.

Professor Jerry Roberts, academic lead of the University’s Global Food Security Priority Group, said: “This award is a fitting tribute to a century of training and research in agricultural and food-related research that has been carried out on the University’s campuses.”

Global Food Security is one of the University’s priorities in research — key areas of critical mass in which a combination of expertise and investment are having real impact, using the expertise of many different academics including scientists, engineers and social scientists.

More information is available at:

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/globalfoodsecurity/index.aspx

Global Food Security is also a key project within the University’s new appeal, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

More information is available at: http://tiny.cc/UoNImpact

Professor Bob Webb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “Given the significant challenge of increasing food production by at least 70 per cent in the next 30-40 years, sustainable food production and supply systems is an immediate global priority.

“Our vision at Nottingham was to develop sustainable solutions to secure a safe, nutritious supply of food for the world’s growing population. Furthermore food security is not just the supply of food, but importantly the supply of affordable food.

“The University recognised this enormous challenge and developed the Global Food Security Priority Group based on our world leading expertise and large critical mass of researchers working in this area. I feel that this award recognises the impact that the research at Nottingham is already having on combating this global challenge.”

A joint submission to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008-14 (RAE) by the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science confirmed the University’s no.1 position in the UK in the subject areas of ‘Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science’, according to independent analysis conducted by Research Fortnight.

The University also tops most other UK league tables for agriculture, food and plant sciences.

 

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