Sheffield Hallam University has been granted £6.9million to develop a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Angela Coleshill, director of Employment and Skills at the Food and Drink Federation, said: “We are delighted that Sheffield Hallam University has been awarded £6.9million by HEFCE to support the development of a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

“The Centre has received a significant number of pledges of support by industry and will act as a hub for R&D and innovation solutions, as well as providing industry relevant competencies for Continuous Professional Development and workforce development.”

Coleshill added: “The Centre’s strong focus on mechanical engineering will be vital to helping us address industry’s current skills gaps in this area by exposing both current employees and students on the industry-backed MEng Food Engineering degree to the latest technology and developments.”

Top food and drink brands are also backing the university’s MEng Food Engineering degree.

The full time four year course has gained the support of leading brands, including: Burton’s Biscuit Company, United Biscuits, Premier Foods, Warburtons and Coca Cola Enterprises. The degree has also received co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills through the Employer Investment Fund.

Participants will gain a Master’s degree, work towards chartered engineer status and gain useful experience with leading UK food and drink companies on industrial placements.

Awareness of the degree has been raised via campaign ’Take a Closer Look at Food Engineering’, targeted at 16-19 year olds, aiming to raise awareness of food engineering as a career.