A Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS 2) PhD student at Cardiff Metropolitan University has received an award for the contribution her research is making towards sustainability in food and drink manufacturing in Wales.
Emma Samuel, a first year PhD student at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, was highly commended with a Sustainability Award at the annual KESS 2 event which took place at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 10th. The award recognised the contribution her research into hand hygiene behaviour and food safety culture is making towards the goals of the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
In conjunction with The Sustainability Lab at Bangor University, the KESS 2 judging panel chose Emma’s entry as one of the most impactful amongst a strong field of submissions. Collaborating with an independent Welsh food business, the research project embraces the sustainable development principle in a number of areas, supporting Wales’ ambitions to be a more prosperous, healthier, resilient and globally responsible nation.
As a preventative measure, hand hygiene is the most effective way to protect food from pathogens which can cause illness but little is understood about how an organisation’s food safety culture influences food handler behaviour. The cost burden of food related illness in the United Kingdom is substantial and cross-collaboration between researchers and industry is vital to support a prosperous and thriving Welsh food economy.
On an individual company scale, improving hand hygiene practices not only demonstrates a business’s commitment to food safety compliance but also safeguards reputation, consumer health and supports future business growth which ultimately secures jobs. The development of bespoke interventions to meet the food business’s specific needs is indicative of the progressive attitude towards food safety in Wales.
On receiving the award Emma said “My KESS 2 scholarship enabled this unique and important study but without the commitment of the food business partner it would not be possible. Collaborative partnerships like this are the only way we can really hope to reduce the impact of food illness on society. Long-term success depends on having sustainability at the core of everything we do and I am thrilled to have received this recognition.
Dr Elizabeth Redmond, Senior Research Fellow and Emma's PhD Director of Studies said
"It was great for Emma's PhD work to be Highly Commended for the recent KESS 2 Sustainability Award. She is an outstanding student and her research will benefit not only more sustainable food product safety, but also consumer health in the wider community."
Following Emma’s award, KESS 2 will be featuring her project in a case study highlighting the economic, social, environmental and cultural impact her project is working towards.
About KESS 2
KESS 2 are a pan-Wales funding body which is supported by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government. The body links companies and organisations with academic expertise in the higher education sector in Wales to undertake collaborative research projects, working towards a PhD or Research Masters qualification.