First Industry Advisory Board meeting at Sheffield Hallam

Today, representatives from the food industry and academia will join forces at the inaugural meeting of the Food Engineering Industrial Advisory Board (FEIAB) for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

Chaired by Gavin Darby, Chief Executive of Premier Foods, the Industrial Advisory Board will advise Sheffield Hallam University on its strategy to develop and deliver food engineering research and education. It will also ensure the Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, the MEng Food Engineering master's degree course and other developments meet the needs of the UK's largest manufacturing sector, by building food engineering capability in the UK for the future.

The Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, based at Sheffield Hallam University, will support the MEng Food Engineering degree. The £6.9m investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and significant additional contributions from the industry will create a food engineering facility that will be unparalleled across the UK and will help ensure the UK's largest manufacturing sector remains competitive and successful.

Gavin Darby, Chair of FEIAB, said:

"I'm delighted to be chairing this first meeting of the Industrial Advisory Board. The availability of top class engineering talent is vital to support the innovation upon which the industry's future competitiveness depends. Having a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering is a significant step forwards.”

Melanie Leech, Director General at Food and Drink Federation, said:

"This meeting marks a significant contribution to improving the future of food engineering. With industry's key leaders behind this board, the National Centre of Excellence will not only help provide industry with the skilled workers we need to thrive, but also will create a collaborative hub of industry excellence from which the whole of the UK will benefit.”

Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro Vice Chancellor for Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“The new advisory board will play a key role in shaping the strategy of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam. The centre has excellent representation from the industry and the University and will provide a forum for collaborative working that will help to develop new facilities, processes and equipment, and engage with research and knowledge transfer to keep the UK at the forefront of innovation in the sector."


1. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.

2. The National Centre of Excellence at Sheffield Hallam University builds on the launch of the UK's first food engineering degree. For further information, visit

3. Industry representatives on the FEIAB board are from ; Arla Foods, Kellogg's, McCain Foods, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Warburtons, William Jackson Food Group alongside Premier Foods.

4. Companies supporting the Centre of Excellence include; Arla, apetito, Bradman Lake Group Ltd, Cargill, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dalehead Foods, Endress and Hauser, FDF, Festo Food and Beverage Industry, General Mills, G's Fresh, Kellogg's, KP Snacks, Improve, Invensys, Mars UK, McCain Foods, Nestle, Nalco, PepsiCo UK, Premier Foods, Pork Farms, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, SEW Eurodrive, Siemens plc, Spirax-Sarco Engineering Plc, Star Refrigeration Ltd, Tate and Lyle Sugars, The Authentic Food Company, Warburtons, William Jackson Food Group.

5. The MEng Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University has been developed by Graduate Excellence, a partnership between the Food and Drink Federation, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and Sheffield Hallam University.