Graduate sought for crunchy critter cuisine research project

Academics at Nottingham have an unusual challenge on their plate and just might need a helping hand

The University of Nottingham has partnered with Monkfield Nutrition, one of the UK’s biggest insect breeders, to strike up a more delicious relationship with our creepy-crawly friends.

Insects have proven to be an extremely attractive future source of nutrition for animals and humans alike. Anybody who’s sat through a Bushtucker Trial on the popular reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here’ will be familiar with images of hungry adults stranded in a jungle as they try to chew down on a handful of crickets.

The University is now looking for a researcher who has the stomach to work on this industry-changing research project with Monkfield Nutrition. The company began as a family business over 25 years ago as the first commercial live-food breeder in the UK. It now produces over four million insects per week as pet food for exotic animals. The demand for live-food multiplies every year as interest in reptile keeping continues to grow. Locusts in particular have rapidly increased in popularity over the past five years.

Paul Yeomans, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Manager at The University of Nottingham, said: “This is an exciting chance for an ambitious bioscience researcher to shape decisions at the forefront of a growing food industry, whilst fast-tracking their research career.

“Graduates often use a KTP as a springboard for opening up an array of future post-project opportunities. It also provides influential positions in real-world commercial environments, and the kind of hands-on leadership experience and tangible results that prospective employers demand.”

Professor Andy Salter, Head of Nutritional Sciences and Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Nottingham is leading on the project. He commented: “There is great potential to apply our existing knowledge of the nutritional needs of conventional livestock to insects, in a systematic way that has not been done before.”

The KTP grant of £198,482, awarded by Innovate UK, will allow a team of researchers from the University and Monkfield Nutrition to look into improving the efficiency of insect production and to investigate how the nutritional quality can be manipulated to suit specific markets. Insects show a lot of promise for human consumption and as nutritional supplements for livestock – in particular, the rapidly expanding aquaculture industry.

Anyone who is interested in applying for the role of KTP Research Associate in Insect Nutrition and Production should visit the University website or email paul.yeomans@nottingham.ac.uk

 

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