Queen's Anniversary Prize awarded to The University of Nottingham

Global food security research
24 Nov 2011 18:30:00.000


The University of Nottingham has won royal recognition for its research to help feed the world’s growing population.

The University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, for its research on Global Food Security — which includes everything from growing more crops with less fertiliser, to improving the nutrition, safety and taste of food on the plate.

Worldwide, around a billion people are hungry and nearly 200 million children are severely malnourished. With the world’s population expected to increase from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, coupled with climate change, the challenge of feeding the world has never been more pressing.

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The University of Nottingham is home to one of the largest communities of plant, crop, animal and food science experts in the UK, carrying out world-leading research to find new ways of feeding a hungry planet.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is part of the UK’s national honours system, and as such is the most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic institution. The latest round of the biennial scheme is particularly special because it will be formally awarded in 2012 — the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year.

Formal presentation will take place at Buckingham Palace in February 2012, when Her Majesty The Queen will present the award to Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.

Professor Greenaway said: “Receiving this award in recognition of the global impact of our research into food security is a great honour for the University, and acknowledges the outstanding contribution made by colleagues in such an important field.”

The Queen’s Award summary includes the following:

“The University’s School of Biosciences… carries out wide-ranging work in the area of bio-fortification, with impact for the nutritional quality, drought resistance and crop yields and for protecting crops against disease. The University undertakes substantial international and extension work through its campuses in China and Malaysia, enabling scientists to work on both temperate and tropical crops in their natural environments.

“The University’s combination of fundamental and applied science, and its unusually wide span of activity — taking in plant and crops, animals and veterinary science, food and nutrition, energy and environment and the economics and politics of food security — has enabled it to generate more holistic solutions to pressing issues in global agriculture. Studies of plant growth have led to increased nitrogen-use efficiency and drought resistance in wheat, while research on metabolic links between nutrition and reproduction has increased pregnancy rate and longevity in dairy cows.

“The University is widely recognised for its strong contribution to sustainable agricultural production within the UK and internationally, embracing academic excellence and practical farming… The work is both strategic and of practical benefit to the farming industry and society in general.” 

The University's campuses in Malaysia and China are playing a growing part in its Global Food Security research. In June 2011, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus announced that it was to co-host the first ever Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) in partnership with the Government of Malaysia.

The centre, specifically designed to evaluate underutilised crops from all corners of the world, will be at the heart of an international effort to seek out which crops have the potential to be grown for human sustenance or on a commercial basis for food, pharmaceuticals or biomaterials in the climates of the future.

Professor Jerry Roberts, academic lead of the University’s Global Food Security Priority Group, said: “This award is a fitting tribute to a century of training and research in agricultural and food-related research that has been carried out on the University’s campuses.”

Global Food Security is one of the University’s priorities in research — key areas of critical mass in which a combination of expertise and investment are having real impact, using the expertise of many different academics including scientists, engineers and social scientists.

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Global Food Security is also a key project within the University’s new appeal, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

More information is available at: http://tiny.cc/UoNImpact

Professor Bob Webb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “Given the significant challenge of increasing food production by at least 70 per cent in the next 30-40 years, sustainable food production and supply systems is an immediate global priority.

“Our vision at Nottingham was to develop sustainable solutions to secure a safe, nutritious supply of food for the world’s growing population. Furthermore food security is not just the supply of food, but importantly the supply of affordable food.

“The University recognised this enormous challenge and developed the Global Food Security Priority Group based on our world leading expertise and large critical mass of researchers working in this area. I feel that this award recognises the impact that the research at Nottingham is already having on combating this global challenge.”

A joint submission to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008-14 (RAE) by the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science confirmed the University’s no.1 position in the UK in the subject areas of ‘Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science’, according to independent analysis conducted by Research Fortnight.

The University also tops most other UK league tables for agriculture, food and plant sciences.

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Notes to editors:

The Royal Anniversary Trust is an independent charity — registered number 1,000,000 — concerned with the advancement of education for public benefit. It was set up in 1990 with the object of carrying out a programme of events and activities during 1992, funded and supported from private sources with official endorsement, to mark the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s accession and her years of service as Head of State. The Trust currently works to promote world class excellence in UK universities and colleges through The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

The Prizes are a biennial award scheme which is within the UK’s national honours system. As such they are the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution. The honour is distinctive in recognising the institution rather than an individual or team. The scheme was established in 1993 with the approval of The Queen and all-party support in Parliament.

All eligible universities and colleges in the UK are invited to enter the biennial rounds of the scheme. The assessment process is overseen by the Awards Council of the Trust which makes the final recommendations which are submitted to the Prime Minister for advice to The Queen.


A full list of winning institutions will be available at http://www.royalanniversarytrust.org.uk/news from Friday November 25 2011.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/impactcampaign

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Jerry Roberts, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 6339, jeremy.roberts@nottingham.ac.uk; Alex Bevis at Colman Getty (for the Queen’s Anniversary Trust) on +44 (0)20 7631 2666, alex@colmangetty.co.uk

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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