A Fermanagh man has been appointed the new Waitrose Chair in Food and Farming at Aberystwyth University.
The senior appointment of Professor Nigel Scollan, originally from Lisbellaw, now gives the supermarket and associated companies, world-class support with research into improving the sustainability of the UK's food production systems and reflects Waitrose's commitment to finding long-term solutions to food security and other issues affecting agriculture in the UK.
The role will facilitate innovative approaches, with scientists, farmers, food industry and policy-makers working in partnership to improve the efficiency, sustainability and resilience of the UK food supply chain.
The supermarket is funding the Waitrose Chair of Food and Farming at Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) with immediate effect.
The UK agricultural industry is undergoing a period of substantial change as it addresses how to feed a growing population and decrease its carbon footprint. In addition, animal and plant diseases are ongoing threats that farmers and growers will have to contend with in the future, coupled with food security issues and strains on productivity.
Heather Jenkins, Director of Agricultural Strategy at Waitrose comments, "This new role will lead vital research exploring how UK agriculture can be a solution to these major issues." Professor Wayne Powell, Director of IBERS said "The appointment of Nigel Scollan to the Waitrose Chair of Food and Farming will focus on forging links between agriculture, science and one of the most forward thinking great retailers. I am delighted with Nigel's appointment and look forward to this role building on our existing work with Waitrose and their suppliers through the Waitrose Farming Partnership." Nigel Scollan who grew up in Lisbellaw, currently heads up the research group on animals systems and is also responsible for agri-food knowledge exchange activities at IBERS, Aberystwyth University. He conducted his PhD at The University of Edinburgh, followed by a two-year post-doctoral period at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada before joining Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Aberystwyth in 1993 and subsequently Aberystwyth University in 2008.
His research is primarily related to supporting the development of more sustainable and environmentally-friendly animal production systems, exploring how increased levels of food security and production efficiencies may be achieved.
Professor Scollan comments "this is a very exciting and challenging position and I look forward to working closely with Waitrose and partners to help support the delivery of great quality food to consumers".
Nigel is a Past President of the British Society of Animal Science and a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in the UK.