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      EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food

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          Abstract

          The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Food Manufacturing will meet the challenges of UK and global food security through developing world-leading technologies, tools and leaders, tailored to the specific needs of food products. With a turnover of £76.2bn (20% of the UK total), Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK employing around 400,000 people. With an anticipated rapid growth in 'better value' products and in products designed for the nation's Health and Wellness, in particular for the ageing population, food manufacturing requires innovation in increased productivity - to produce more from less - to preserve natural resources such as water and energy, to minimise waste generation and to decrease the trade deficit in the sector. Crucially this will enable the UK food sector to be at the forefront of the next generation of sustainable production which are more natural and healthier, and to develop more resilient supply chains leading to state of the art manufacturing capability, in an increasingly competitive landscape. The proposed research focuses on identifying not only new sources of raw material but also on reducing the demand on existing resources through a simultaneous improvement of food products, manufacturing methods and supply networks. In this context, some of the key research questions are: How do we fully valorise biomass (including waste re-use) as new sources of raw material in food production?; How can we design and manufacture products with the high nutritional values using fewer raw materials?; How do we improve the efficiency of food production processes (e.g. through smart monitoring technologies; process intensification / flexible manufacturing) to consume fewer resources (materials, energy and water) across the supply chain?; How can we eliminate the production and post-production waste caused by inefficient supply and manufacturing activities and /or relationships? The scope of the proposed research focuses on the manufacturing activities from 'post-farm gate to supermarket shelf', and will be considered under two specific Grand Challenges (GC): 1) Innovative materials, products and processes and 2) Sustainable food supply and manufacture. These research challenges closely align with the EPSRC call for 'Centres for Innovative Manufacturing', in particular the three areas of Resource Efficiency in Manufacturing: processes and technologies towards complete reuse of key materials and components; the need to dramatically reduce energy demand, including the incorporation of smart energy monitoring and management technologies; optimisation of material and product re-use, re-manufacturing and recycling, Innovative Production Processes: manufactured foods being complex formulated systems, and Complex Multifunctional Products: food is a high volume product assembled using processes which operate from the nano- (raw material) to the macro-scales (packaged goods). The proposed EPSRC Centre brings together world leading expertise in the areas of biomaterial science, formulation engineering and sustainable manufacturing. Loughborough and Nottingham are involved in the current EPSRC Centres and will ensure complementarities with other EPSRC research portfolios. The Centre will deliver demonstrable tools, methods and specific technologies, will develop academic and industrial leaders, and will provide evidence to support future policy making, thus ensuring the long-term competitiveness and security of the UK and global food supply chain. The proposal benefits from the interest and support of a wide range of stakeholders from ingredient producers and manufacturers to retailers and governmental organisations and has exploitation opportunities as the research challenges fit with the strategic themes in the new TSB High Value Manufacturing Strategy 2012-2015.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Impact
          impact
          Science Impact, Ltd.
          2398-7073
          August 21 2018
          August 21 2018
          : 2018
          : 6
          : 6-8
          Article
          10.21820/23987073.2018.6.6
          © 2018

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering

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