Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is joining forces with one of the world's leading research universities in food science and technology to launch a course aimed at producing graduates for the growing food processing industry in Singapore.
The course will be taught by NTU and Holland's Wageningen University professors who will conduct lectures through video conferencing. However, the professors will fly to Singapore for the laboratory-based lessons.
The course will be available from August this year as a second major to chemical engineering, chemistry and biology students. Students will be selected in their second year of study, but NTU will pick only academically strong students because of the demands of studying a second major. Upon graduation, students will receive a certificate in food science and technology bearing the name of the two universities, in addition to their degree conferred by NTU.
While Singapore is not an agricultural country, it has the potential to become a significant food processing centre just like Holland. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry figures, the food industry here employs 127,000 workers, accounting for about 4.4 per cent of Singapore's total employment.
Building up expertise in this area is also crucial in addressing food security and safety, which is a growing global issue.
Said Wageningen University vice-president Martin Kropff: "Global food security issues require international co-operation between top scientists and top universities."
Wageningen, which has been running its food technology courses up to PhD level for over 50 years, is highly regarded in the field.
Their courses in food science range from the more technical such as process engineering or chemistry, to fields with a more economic or sociological focus such as marketing and gastronomy.