Deputy Vice-Chancellor professor Iain Watson said UQ had worked hard to position itself as a research powerhouse in areas such as agriculture, land management, genetics and chemistry, which all feed into food innovation.
“UQ has the largest university food research capability in Australia and ranks at number seven in the world for agriculture research,” he said.
“The Food Science Innovation Precinct is the icing on the cake. It will give students access to world-class training, innovations and facilities, and will ultimately help food companies create more innovative products.”
The Food Science Innovation Precinct has two state-of-the-art laboratories – a food-grade laboratory and an analytical laboratory for chemical and microbiological analysis.
Master of Food Science students will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects, including new omega-3 and probiotics food and drinks, cholesterol-lowering baked goods and dairy foods, fresher milk produced without heat pasteurisation and 3D printed fruits.
UQ Business School Entrepreneur in Residence and UniQuest Commercial Director (Food) Cameron Turner said the new facilities would allow students to work on research projects in collaboration with food companies.
“The food industry in Australia is rapidly growing and evolving, largely driven by consumers who are willing to pay for taste and convenience and are better informed about health and nutrition through media channels,” he said.
“There’s also an increased awareness of functional foods and the importance of our gut microbiota, and rising opportunities in Asia, particularly China, for Australian-made foods.
“All of these factors create excellent opportunities for food manufacturers, retailers and our researchers.”