The MSc programme in Food Innovation has been designed to provide students with knowledge and understanding of key steps in the development and launch of new ingredients and products to contribute to healthy living and lifestyles. The programme is based upon the strengths and expertise of staff working in the Faculty of Engineering and Science, including the Natural Resources Institute and covers subjects which include: human nutrition and public health; food chemistry and biochemistry, functional foods, marketing and economics; new product and process development; food packaging; food safety and quality management; food legislation; applied food microbiology, creative thinking, sustainability and entrepreneurship.
The MSc programme in Food Innovation is aimed at: graduates who want to develop a career path in the food industry in the area of product development; for students who have not followed an undergraduate programme in food science or technology and for professionals working in the food industry who want to participate in the programme, either in a part-time mode or by following a continuing professional development (CPD) model. Students with backgrounds in Biology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Biotechnology and Hospitality are encouraged to join the programme.
Dr Nazanin Zand, Programme Leader, has a thriving research programme supported by a series of scientific publications in high impact refereed journals. Dr Zand's initiated her research into nutritional quality of commercial complementary infant foods after years of experience in product development in food industry, which has attracted national and international media attention. Dr Zand is actively leading several consultancy activities (Child Growth Foundation, Organix, Baby Food and Farm to Baby Ltd, Harvest Plus), developing protocols for prolonging post-harvest shelf-life and waste reduction, analysis of food and the strategic implementation of Total Management Quality Systems / HACCP. Dr Zand is a member of a research cluster in the Faculty and in addition to leading her own research and enterprise programmes and projects also contributes to some "team research projects" currently on-going within the research cluster. Dr. Zand was included in the 2013 Chemistry REF submission.
- Linda Nicolaides, deputy Programme Leader, over forty three years as principal scientist, working in the areas of quality management and food safety, including policy and implementation of Food Control Systems. Food microbiologist, specialising in food bacteriology and mycology, including microbiological aspects of food production and food processing, including horticultural produce, fish and fishery products, meat and meat products, cereals and grains. Practical and supervisory experience of research projects at PhD and MSc level. The development of new food products, design, implementation and maintenance of the BS EN ISO 9001:2008 standard as NRI's Quality Assurance Manager, BRC, SALSA and HACCP systems; design and operation of food microbiology laboratories to meet the requirements of ISO 17025. Design and development, organisation and presentation of training courses to meet specific customer requirements. Programme leader for the taught MSc in Food Safety and Quality Management (2001-2013). Programme leader for the e-learning MSc programme in Food Safety and Quality Management (underdevelopment). Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and has had NRI recognised as a training and examination centre for food hygiene, safety and HACCP courses.
The programme details
Marketing, Innovation and Management (30 credits). This course is designed to provide students with a the background of a systems approach to studying and managing the process of food innovation. The step by step approach will develop an understanding of the conceptual tools that are required for food innovation and value addition at all stages of the food chain. Students will develop an awareness of consumers' requirements and will be able to make informed decisions regarding the food ingredients and/or products that they bring to market. They will explore the logistics of the food chain and integrate this within the concept of developing a wholesome food, that meets the market requirements.
New Product and Process Development (30 credits). New Product and/or Process Development is a time intensive and costly process, so it is important that students develop the ability to reflect on the significance and inter-relationship of consumers' and markets needs when involved with the design and development of new food products. Students will develop an awareness of the reasons for developing New Food Products and novel processes and what stages are necessary to bring a concept to the marketplace. They will be required to explore the principles required in the formulation and preparation of new food products. As global legislation requires that documented evidence is in place to demonstrate good practices the final element of this course will be to understand the requirements of a Product manual and to apply an innovative approach in the formulation of a manual, reflecting the activities that have been systematically followed within the product development laboratory.
Research Methods (15 credits). This course provides students with tools that will enable them to prepare and progress through their postgraduate studies, as well as providing them with skills that will contribute to their employability.
Planning for Professional and Personal Development (15 credits). This will support students in developing a portfolio of skills and competencies that will enhance their employability.
Research project (60 credits). The project is a key element of study in any programme leading to a Masters award. It is the point where the knowledge and understanding acquired during the taught course is synthesised and applied to the student's area of interest. Students reaching this stage will have acquired some experience of investigative technique and report writing through the completion of the course covering Research Methods. This course will build upon that experience and develop a rigorous approach, appropriate to the level of the award. The dissertation will be required to show not only a thorough grasp of the relevant academic underpinnings as stressed in the learning outcomes.
Innovations in food packaging (30 credits). Packaging has a key role in the marketplace. It demonstrates a product's ownership as the company brand and provides consumers with all information to ensure it complies with legal requirements in terms of labelling. The development of packaging materials has undergone change in recent years with the increased awareness of sustainability and recycling. Packaging that comes into direct contact with food is required to have properties that will not cause harm to the product, nor to be transferred to the consumer. Smart packaging is evolving and can contribute to the shelf-life of a specific product.
Food, nutrition and health (30 credits). The ability to translate nutrition and public health research into food product development is critical in the practices of the food industry. All students have an opportunity for in-depth review of the specific roles of nutrients in supporting and promoting health and disease and how these relate to individual genetic or in-born variations through in-depth knowledge of the core components of nutrition. The focus of this course is nutrition physical growth, development and maturation that are the basis for monitoring the health of populations. This course provides a basis for an in-depth understanding of links between food science and technology, (including food composition, chemistry and processing) and the broader food environment, including agricultural practices, food policy, and trade and how their interactions affect food availability, distribution, security, consumption and human health, survival and sustainable development. Furthermore, understanding dietary sources and dietary requirements provides a sound basis for interventions in health and disease. This will benefit particularly a student whose first degree did not have nutrition as a major focus whilst at the same time, providing the basis for those with a nutrition background to develop a further understanding.
Applied food microbiology (30 credits). Microorganisms have been used to enhance the appearance, flavor and maintain safety and wholesomeness of foods and beverages for centuries. With the growing demand for healthy and wholesome food microorganisms can be used to enhance specific properties or produce ingredients for specialist foods. The growth and production of such foods and ingredients will be studied in this course, as well as understanding the beneficial uses and applications of microorganisms students will also learn about spoilage microorganisms and their effect in a range of different foods and feeds, as well as the incidence and control of pathogenic microorganisms.
Applied food chemistry and biolchemistry (30 credits). The quality and wholesomeness of food is to a large extent determined by its chemical composition. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates organic acids, vitamins and alcohols play important roles in the development and maintenance of the human and animal body. Strategies for the improvement and development of new ingredients and products will be more developed. The course will therefore introduce the student to the principle constituents of foods and food commodities, their bio-chemical properties and changes during food processing and storage. Students will also develop laboratory skills for the identification and quantification of key chemical components in foods and food commodities using traditional and modern techniques.
This programme provides specialist expertise for those working or wishing to work in the food industry, or seeking an advanced qualification in food science or technology in the UK and overseas. Career options for students graduating with this MSc will include:
• New ingredient, product, process and packaging development;
• Management of FPPD activities;
• Logistics of food innovation;
• Research and development, where laboratory based skills will be key;
• Teaching and training.
Key programme features
A major aim of the Food Innovation programme is to provide a reliable and impartial appraisal of the scientific and technological developments in this important subject area. The Programme is aimed at life science graduates interested in developing a career in value added products required by the food chain working with food, health and allied professions. There is growing awareness of the role played by some foods and food components in the prevention of chronic diseases across many national and international jurisdictions and this programme will investigate and develop this key area.
The MSc Food Innovation programme has been designed to embed the process of new ingredient/product development and ingredient/product innovation into life science graduates, catering professionals or experienced professionals working in the food and hospitality industries within the UK/EU as well as overseas. Key scientific laboratory principals and science-based tools are important in the development of new products to assess and monitor specific properties of food matrices and a practical curriculum will attract graduates interested in a career in the development of value added and new ingredients or products for the food chain and allied professions.
What students can expect from the course
This new programme is intended to prepare graduates from a life science or catering background for careers as professional Product Development Scientists, based upon a clear understanding and competency of science-based subjects. The programme will also be attractive to professionals already working in new product development in the food industry who might want to attend either on a part-time basis or as part of their continuing professional development (CPD), in a part-time mode, to formalise or enhance their science-based knowledge on food matrices. All courses developed for this programme will also be promoted as stand-alone CPD short courses. The creation of an MSc in Food Innovation is also intended to enhance the provision of the academic quality within the Faculty, capitalising upon the strengths that are available within Science, NRI and Engineering.
In the full-time mode students start in September. Teaching and learning includes a variety of educational styles including seminars, lectures, group work, assignments and tutorials. Assessment consists of a combination of assignments, essays, presentations, reports, portfolios and formal examinations. Formal examinations occur three times a year, in January, May and August. The project, which constitutes a third of the assessment, is submitted either in August of January at the end of the Programme. Support training in English and scientific writing is available to assist students for whom English is not a first language.
The university will consider applicants with a relevant Bachelor's Honours degree (UK equivalent) class 2:2 or above, or an overseas equivalent. If there is no relevant degree, a professional qualification and experience in the field of food science and technology may be acceptable. If a student's first language is not English, they will also need a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.0. In some cases, it may be possible to take into account acquired prior learning and experience, particularly individuals with significant work-based experience in related subjects.