Research Strategy for food security launched

The UK’s major public funders of national and international food-related research have published their co-ordinated plan for research to help the world avoid a potential food security crisis.

Providing the world’s growing population with a sustainable and secure supply of safe, nutritious and affordable high quality food from less land and with lower inputs presents a considerable challenge. In order to meet this effectively, Research Councils, Government Departments and other public bodies are co-ordinating their research activities related to food and agriculture through the Global Food Security programme.

Do we lack entrepeneurialism in Scotland?

The Applied Knowledge Exchange attended Holyrood Magazine’s Enterprise Scotland 2010 event in Edinburgh to hear Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather and Scottish Enterprise’s Lena Wilson give their visions for a stronger Scotland for business. Lena-Wilson2-177x177

Lena Wilson insisted that Scotland’s businesses had ‘very serious challenges’ and were underperforming against the UK economy and global competitors. Ms Wilson said Scotland had a low number of businesses per head of the population, and that our businesses were very small.

Her aims for focus? Commercialisation and Internationalism. Ms Wilson said we need to capitalise on our world-class research in life sciences, food and drink and energy.

GCU is currently leading the £3.3m European study aimed at tacking foot and ankle pain.

Ms Wilson also emphasised the potential for Scotland’s businesses to export to China and India. Only 50 Scottish companies are active in China, she says, compared to over 200 Finnish businesses.

She called for a ‘greater sense of ambition in businesses and the public sector’.

Jim Mather said we need a ‘new beginning in Scotland’, insisting that the Government was supporting ‘sustainable economic growth’. He claimed ‘few sectors will offer Scotland as much as the energy sector’ and emphasised his goals of manufacturing innovation and private investment in renewables. The Scottish Government is to publish its Energy Efficiency Plan this spring.

Vital renewable energy research at Glasgow Caledonian Uni

earthScotland’s Climate Change minister Stewart Stevenson is pushing the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Mission agenda at the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen next week.

The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Act, passed earlier this year, has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

At the weekend, Parliamentarians joined thousands of protestors as they took to the streets of Glasgow as part of Scotland’s biggest ever climate change demonstration. The Wave was organised by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition.

At Glasgow Caledonian University, vital renewable energy work is also high on the agenda.

Research is central to the School of the Built and Natural Environment’s activities, and it attained the top rating in Scotland in the category  “Architecture and the Built Environment” of The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for 2008.

The School of the Built and Natural Environment has a research partnership with Grameen Shakti , a not-for-profit company established to promote, develop and popularize renewable energy technologies in remote, rural areas of Bangladesh. The School of the Built and Natural Environment is collaborating with Grameen Shakti on the largest micro-generation renewable energy program in the world. A delegation of Grameen Shakti will also attend the Copenhagen Summit.   

Dr M. Asif, Lecturer in Sustainable and Renewable Energy Technologies at Glasgow Caledonian University, says: “In the backdrop of the environmental challenges Bangladesh faces , the work we are jointly undertaking is important and would be of interest to other developing and developed countries as well.”

Another important renewable energy initiative is being headed by Dr Alastair Sutherland, Dr Alan Williams and Susan Withers, of the Division of Biological/Biomedical Sciences. They have obtained £147,000 of funding from iTi Energy to study the anaerobic digestion of seaweed to produce methane. This is part of a new initiative to develop advanced biofuels for renewable energy.

Your business can benefit from the expertise available at Glasgow Caledonian University. Whether you are an SME, charity, multinational or public sector organisation, the Applied Knowledge Exchange can provide professional consultancy, specialist research facilities, and bespoke work-based education.