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Inaugural lecture on food design by Harper Adams visiting professor

Posted 18 June

Harper Adams is keen to maintain and develop its educational and research links in Europe and is exploring, with colleagues at HAS, other forms of collaboration to bring this about.

Professor Antien Zuidberg

Professor Antien Zuidberg delivers her inaugural lecture

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, was in the Netherlands recently, visiting HAS University of Applied Sciences in the city of s’Hertogenbosch.

Harper Adams has a strategic partnership with HAS University of Applied Sciences, which offers a comprehensive range of courses and research in agribusiness, food and environment.  HAS was ranked the best specialist University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands in 2016 and 2018 by the popular Elsevier Weekly magazine.

A number of HAS students are undertaking postgraduate programmes at Harper Adams and there have been regular visits of students and staff between the universities over several years, and since the strategic partnership was formally launched in February 2018.  The HAS Food Experience has proved particularly popular, taking the form of an exhibition where over 200 final year students demonstrate their innovations in food products, packaging and processing developed during their time at University.  The event provides an opportunity for students to engage with visiting businesses and members of the local community, and, earlier this year, for the first time, Harper Adams undergraduates were amongst the students demonstrating their work.

The universities have established reciprocal appointments for Visiting Professorships, with Dr Frank Vrieskoop and Professor Mark Rutter, from Harper Adams, recently taking on this role at HAS.  Professor Lenny van Erp, who specialises in precision livestock farming, and Professor Antien Zuidberg, who specialises in design methods in food, have both recently become Visiting Professors at Harper Adams.

And it was for the inaugural lecture of Professor Zuidberg that the Vice-Chancellor visited HAS, hearing, first hand, how a focus on design methods and tools can help more food innovations successfully reach the market.  With the title ‘What U Design = How U Design’ Professor Zuidberg explained how good design can also play a role in encouraging the consumption of more healthy and sustainable food products, how new food technologies have a role to play in the design of food processes, management of food waste and the incorporation of new ingredients and the central role of the food consumer.

The lecture was interspersed with short presentations by students on novel concepts in food design.  These ranged from agricultural processes to the support of food business start-ups and from a method to measure the health effect of innovative plant products and how to tempt people to eat more vegetables, to the use of 3D food printing in healthcare, and amongst the elderly with chewing and swallowing problems. 

The inaugural lecture was a considerable success, prompting discussion about the principles of food production and the role of food design in supporting other policy priorities such as food safety, healthy eating and sustainable supply chains.

Commenting on his visit, Dr Llewellyn said: “It was tremendous to be able to visit HAS again and to be present for Antien Zuidberg’s inaugural lecture.  The Chairman of the HAS Executive Board, Dick Pouwels, and I also had the chance, just before the lecture, to speak to those attending the event to tell them a little more about the partnership we are developing and the appointment of our respective Visiting Professors.

“Harper Adams is keen to maintain and develop its educational and research links in Europe and is exploring, with colleagues at HAS, other forms of collaboration to bring this about.  I am grateful to the HAS team for their kind welcome back to their university, and we look forward to working with our new Visiting Professors, Antien Zuidberg and Lenny van Erp, to make further progress with our partnership in the months ahead.” 

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