Waitrose to take lead role in managing research on food security and sustainability
Waitrose has become the first retailer to successfully apply to lead the delivery of a major investment in doctoral training by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The money will be invested in 15 separate PhD projects covering food security and sustainability.
Waitrose will lead a consortium of academic partners to manage the work. These will include Lancaster University, The University of Warwick, The University of Reading and the agricultural research station Rothamsted Research..
The research will also involve working in partnership with the Waitrose Agronomy Group, which is made up of key fruit and vegetable suppliers.
Waitrose said the projects are likely to focus on soil health, bio-diversity, sustainable water use, reducing crop waste and minimising chemical use during the cultivation of produce. Candidates carrying out the work will be selected over be next three years.
The cash is a share of a total of £19 million awarded to support industry-led doctoral training. In total this investment will train and develop 189 PhD students to produce skilled people for the research base and build capability in the UK workforce.
Alan Wilson Waitrose’s technical manager for fresh produce, said: “Waitrose is delighted to have been appointed a lead organisation for this industry-led collaborative 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. This has the potential to really make a difference in changing how produce is cultivated in the future.”
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