Scottish Young Scientist of the Year - April 2017

The 2nd Scottish Young Food Scientist of the Year 2017 kicked off at Glasgow Caledonian University on Tuesday 11 April.  Three university student groups were present, Glasgow Caledonian University Strathclyde University and Abertay University, and with both Undergraduates and Postgraduates competing to win their category (and bragging rights for the forthcoming year!). 

The competition was opened by Bill Crosson, IFST Committee and was followed by presentations from each of the six undergraduate students on topics from reducing salt concentration baked products, the effects of thermosonication on mushroom polyphenyloxidase (PPO) inactivation, the use of anthocyanins of C.ternatea flower on starch digestion, nutritional comparisons between protein bars (milk and insect proteins), determining Viraemic incidence of hepatitis E virus in pigs, and finally nutritional evaluations of microwave ready meals.  These excellent presentations from the students from Year 3 and 4 of their respected programmes, gave the audience an insight into what work was being carried out by the students. However there can be only one winner and IFST Scottish Branch were pleased to announce that Aimee Dale (Abertay University) (mushrooms) was the winner for the Undergraduate Prize.  Judges commented on how she made the topic engaging and easy to understand, with clear and concise information which was presented well, they added the use of a mini quiz at the end really helped the transfer of knowledge.

Then it was the turn of the postgraduate presentations; four students presented their work on; Near Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging for detection of nut traces in foods, the application of sensory and consumer science to help inform decision making in potato breeding programmes, the influence of lipids on the resistant starch content of rice and finally the drying of Scottish seaweeds for the new product development process.  Again these were an excellent insight into what the students investigating as part of their studies.  A postgraduate prize was then awarded to Marilin Reisner, Glasgow Caledonian University.  Judges noted that Marilin presented her work in a concise and audience friendly manner explaining well the complex science behind her work.

The event closed with a food and drink reception at which students and key industrial contacts networked and discussed the various projects that they were working on.

Special thanks are extended to all of the judges, Moira Stalker (Food and Drink Federation Scotland), Bill Crosson (IFST Committee) and Phyllis Brown (R-Biopharm Rhone Ltd) for giving up of their time and for supporting our next generation of Food Scientists.  Also a thank you to Janice Taylor at Glasgow Caledonian for hosting the event, Erin Taylor and the IFST Head Office for organising the event and finally a special thank you to R-Biopharm Rhone Ltd. for providing the student prizes. 

All in all it was an enjoyable and worthwhile event showcasing the cream of the crop of food scientists of the future.

Dr Jonathan Wilkin, IFST Scotland Branch Secretary and Lecturer at Abertay University