Positioned to drive food innovation in the region, the University of Newcastle’s Central Coast campus has launched newly refurbished teaching and analytical Food Science laboratories.
With an investment of $1million, the original laboratories have been transformed with new workspaces, state-of-the-art teaching technology, and analytical and product development facilities.
The upgrade and expansion of the food labs, testing services, and industrial scale kitchen provides an innovation platform to drive industry-led product science research locally.
University of Newcastle Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Lee Smith said the new kitchen and laboratory facilities will allow the Faculty of Science to continue to produce high quality graduates for the local and international labour markets.
“Presently, there are around 100 undergraduate students studying food science and human nutrition at Ourimbah campus. We’re very proud that over 90% of our food science graduates find employment within three months of completing their degree.
“Importantly, the kitchen has been redesigned to commercial food preparation standards to empower small, local food enterprises to trial and develop new product lines outside of normal teaching times,” Professor Smith said.
Executive Officer and Director at Central Coast Industry Connect, Frank Sammut, said the opening of the food science labs is another milestone in the journey of making the Central Coast a Food Innovation Region, giving an account of the progress made since its inception back in 2017. This included the establishment of the Central Coast Food Alliance as the vehicle for industry to engage and collaborate with each other, university and government.
“As an industry, we are fortunate that we have a facility like this Food Science school in the heart of our region. It provides a great opportunity for industry to do product development alongside staff and students at the campus, in modern well equipped laboratories.
“It is also the source of our future talent and we need to continue to engage with the university to help shape its future investment in facilities, equipment and student programs to support our industry. To the University I thank you for the investment,” Mr Sammut said.
In the presence of food and beverage industry representatives, university staff and government agencies, the newly refurbished teaching and analytical labs were officially opened by the University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, the Dean of the Central Coast Campus, Dr Brok Glen, and Central Coast Industry Connect Executive Officer, Frank Sammut on Wednesday 11 March.