The Scottish Government has continued its investment in human nutrition and food science at the Rowett Institute with a funding boost worth £25 million over five years.
Worth £6 million in the first year, it is anticipated the funding will support some 35 projects across a variety of topics including developing crop science and sustainability, tackling climate change and global food inequality and insecurity.
Many of the studies will involve participation from the public who will be asked to modify their diets with researchers analysing the impact.
The funding will see the Rowett scientists informing food and drink policy by working with the Scottish Government and partners as well as continued collaboration with stakeholders including the farming community, the food and drink industry, Food Standards Scotland, Food and Drink Opportunity North East as well as local communities.
The funding will also see the Rowett continue to be part of SEFARI, the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes, a consortium of six globally renowned research institutes. As SEFARI, these institutes deliver the Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Programme (SRP), which addresses key mid to longer-term challenges for Scotland’s environment, agriculture, land use, food and rural communities.
SEFARI are partners in the wider Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Portfolio. The partnership also continues with SEFARI Gateway - the knowledge exchange and impact hub for SEFARI which works to improve the flow of research, knowledge and expertise to and from policy, industry and the public - to provide multiple benefits and impacts.
Director of the Rowett Institute Professor Jules Griffin said: “Receiving this huge amount of funding is fantastic news to celebrate not just for the University but for the city of Aberdeen, the north-east area and beyond.
“It is a hugely exciting time for the Rowett as we plan the next five years. Food is at the forefront of everyone’s mind as the cost of living rises. Our specialist researchers are looking at how world events such as Covid and Brexit impact on people and the food we buy and consume in a week.
“I am extremely pleased the Scottish Government has once again shown its commitment to scientific research into such a vital area as nutrition.
“This continued funding will allow us, alongside our collaborators, to build on the huge gains that have already been made in understanding the complexity and intertwined issues that arise between agriculture, environment and human health.
“The Rowett Institute has led landmark studies of diet and health for more than 100 years and is well placed to take forward research on how to achieve a healthy and sustainable diet as well as how to improve the health benefits of the food products we produce.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government provides significant funding to our major research institutes to explore issues such as planet and animal health, and food security. In total, we are investing £250 million over the next five years - almost £50 million a year, which will support more than 150 projects.
“They cover issues which are of central concern to the agriculture sector – such as the resilience of livestock to climate change; how to reduce climate change emissions from farming and livestock; and the way in which anti-microbial resistance and pathogens spread into the food chain, and then into humans.
“The support confirms our determination – in a tough financial climate – to ensure that Scotland continues to make an important contribution to research on agriculture and the environment, contributing to the success and sustainability of our farming and food sectors.”