In 2008 the Institute merged with the University, an event which has delivered several obvious benefits. There are significant complementary skills between the two organisations which has resulted in increased research capability, and wider access to funding streams. The Institute within the College of Life Sciences and Medicine now represents one of the UK’s largest research centres for food and health-related research. Another benefit from the merger is the greater capability for interaction with Scotland’s food and drink industry. The nature of this sector is such that it needs to look to publicly funded research to provide innovative ideas and new information to allow it to grow and develop new products. This is especially true where health-promoting foods are concerned.
The Institute has just embarked on another new stage in its history as it starts a new programme of research. The Scottish Government has recently commissioned a five-year research programme from the Institute, which is worth £10 million per year. This programme includes new and important areas of research on the psychological and socio-economic aspects of food choice and this is an excellent example of new synergies and opportunities resulting from the merger with greater research capacity being created.
In 2014, the Institute will move to a new building on the University medical school campus at Foresterhill, a fitting way to mark our centenary year. Among the many new facilities will be a purpose-built Human Nutrition Unit, the most advanced facility of its kind in the UK.