Royal recognition for research
Academics from The University of Nottingham met Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to receive a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education, the most prestigious national recognition for UK universities.
The Prizes are a biennial award scheme, part of the UK's national honours system, celebrating excellence, innovation, and impact in the UK's Higher and Further Education sector. They recognise and celebrate winners' outstanding work which is making a real and practical impact for the benefit of human progress.
Nottingham won the honour for its research to help feed the world's growing population – cutting-edge work which encompasses everything from growing more crops with less fertiliser, to improving the nutrition, safety and taste of food on the plate. The University 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.
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.
Global Food Security
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, received the prize from Her Majesty the Queen.
He said: "We are extremely honoured and proud to have received this award for our work in the area of global food security. It recognises the important contribution the University is making to this vital area of research at our UK and Malaysia campuses. It also acknowledges the significant input of our staff and research students in furthering understanding in this field and driving forward new initiatives."
The University's campus in Malaysia is 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 in partnership with the Government of Malaysia. The centre, specifically designed to evaluate underutilised crops from all corners of the world, is 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 Greenaway was joined at Buckingham Palace by Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor of the University, and senior academics involved in global food security research: Professor Jerry Roberts, Professor Katherine Smart and Professor Sayed Azam-Ali. Five postgraduate students involved in this area of research were also invited to the Palace reception as part of the University of Nottingham party.
A hallmark of excellence
Professor Jerry Roberts, academic lead of the University's Global Food Security Priority Group and Dean of the Graduate School, said: "Staff at The University of Nottingham have been training agricultural scientists from across the world for over a century.
"Our internationally acclaimed research is focused on the provision of a safe and secure supply of nutritious food and this task will become even more acute over the coming years. The recognition of our work with the award of a Queen's Anniversary Prize provides the perfect incentive to meet and overcome the challenges of the next decade."
The Queen's Award summary includes the following: "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."
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.