Next in nutrition: 3 world-leading universities tackling current problems in the industry

Next in nutrition: 3 world-leading universities tackling current problems in the industry
These 3 universities will prepare you to tackle global issus such as the rise in obestity and the increase in ageing population

The importance of studying nutrition cannot be overstated in today’s society. With the rise of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, it has become crucial for us to have a deep understanding of what we’re eating and drinking, and its impact on our health.

The field of nutrition is not without its current issues. Big food corporations often promote and market foods high in saturated fat, sugars or salt. High intakes of these foods are detrimental to health and approaches to reduce their consumption are urgently needed. Such approaches could include reformulation of products by the food industry as well as dietary advice to consume healthier foods.

The growing prevalence of obesity and the rise of ageing populations underscore the urgent need for a transformative revolution in nutrition care. In this vital field, it is crucial that researchers and professionals in food and nutrition are equipped with the appropriate educational background to effectively tackle these pressing issues. By ensuring they have the right expertise, they can drive significant advancements in addressing obesity and meeting the unique nutritional requirements of ageing populations, which are major concerns in today’s society. Here are three leading schools to apply to if you dream of being part of the cause:

Ulster University 

At Ulster University (UU), students pursuing food, nutrition and dietetics degrees learn from academic staff who are based in the Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE), one of the largest nutrition research groups in the UK and Ireland. NICHE’s 100 members — including academic, research, technical, and business support staff, as well as PhD researchers, postgraduate students and interns — aim to solve the chronic diseases of ageing, obesity, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and cognitive decline by investigating the potential impact of diet and food quality on the underlying mechanisms leading not only to disease but also to maintaining health.

This research informs teaching and propels UU programmes to the Top 10 for Food Science (Times Good University Guide 2023), with the Food & Nutrition and Dietetics courses receiving a 92% student satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey 2022. UU’s programmes are accredited by professional bodies too.

UU’s Human Nutrition MSc is delivered on the Coleraine campus on the beautiful north coast of Ireland. The cost of living is considerably lower in the Coleraine area compared to other locations. Fully online programmes include the PgCert, PgDip, and MSc in Food and Nutrition and the PgCert, PgDip, and MSc in Food Regulatory Affairs. Have questions about the former? There is a webinar available to learn more about the programme.

As nutrition is thriving as a sector, UU students get their foot in the door with the help of the university’s strong links with the food industry. Employability is part of the curriculum, and with a thriving alumni community all over the globe, graduates are guaranteed a smooth transition from UU to their chosen careers, set to make a real impact in society and its nutritional needs.

The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland is ranked fourth worldwide and first in Australia for agriculture, according to the latest NTU Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. Its School of Agriculture and Food Sciences is renowned for its work on inter-connected disciplines of agriculture, agribusiness, food science and technology, plant and soil sciences, and animal and wildlife science. The university is also 13th worldwide and first in Australia for food science and technology in ShanghaiRanking’s 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects. 

The school aims to make big impact in three main areas. For dairy science and engineering, the school collaborates with Dairy Innovation Australia Limited on the five-year ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub, which provides solutions to the dairy manufacturing industry. Under food science researcher training, students and postdoctoral fellows are trained in industry-relevant research projects at the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre, an organisation that works with the Australian Food and Grocery Council and food companies covering science, engineering, sensory, consumer perception studies and agribusiness.

The third area of impact is in food quality. Projects are identifying and quantifying the traits that define superior fragrant rice, applying nanotechnology to minimise the changes in milk protein powders during storage, and using genomics to improve the cheese-making process. 

Students undertaking food science and technology here will have access to the school’s world-leading specialist research centres and facilities, which include the QAAFI Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences and the UQ Food Science Innovation Precinct. Degree choices available are a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Food Science and Nutrition, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) specialising in Food Science and Nutrition, a Graduate Certificate in Food Science and Technology and a Master of Food Science and Technology. 

National University of Singapore

NUS’s Department of Food Science and Technology is focused on ensuring students’ employability. Source: National University of Singapore

The National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Food Science and Technology was first established in 1999 under the Faculty of Science. With the mission of nurturing future leaders in the food industry and enhancing the community’s well-being, the department has a unique curriculum that aims to prepare graduates for the fast-growing food industry. The curriculum was even awarded the international IUFoST accreditation, which makes sense as it offers a multi-disciplinary route with problem-based learning, internship exposure and training opportunities. 

As Singapore is tackling food security, it is in need of well-trained food scientists. NUS prepares for a full career that meets this demand, exposing them to crucial subjects and hands-on learning that turn their theoretical knowledge into practical use. “Faculty members in the FST Department strive to excel in teaching and research to make the department a centre of excellence in food science and technology by providing well-trained graduates and conducting high-quality research of international impact,” says Professor Zhou Weibiao, Head of Department.

There are a range of pathway programmes to choose from. “The degree courses currently offered include three-year BSc, four-year BSc Honours, MSc by coursework, MSc by research and PhD by research,” adds Zhou. “Large-scale collaborative research projects have been conducted with both multinational companies and SMEs such as Nestle, Kikkoman, Givaudan, Firmenich, and KH Roberts, just to name a few.”

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International