University of Chester

Programme Specification
Food Integrity & Innovation PGCert
2017 - 2018

Postgraduate Certificate

Food Integrity & Innovation

Food Integrity & Innovation

University of Chester

University of Chester

Parkgate Road Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

3 Years

Annual - October

N/A

D690

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

QAA Subject Benchmark Statements are derived from:

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences (July 2016)

There are no relevant subject benchmark statements for Master degree in food subjects currently available, however the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement: Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences (July 2016) for bachelor’s degrees with honours, has been referred to as the most appropriate.

Clinical Sciences and Nutrition

Wednesday 4th May 2016

The proposed programme will aim to inform and equip students with the necessary skills to function in modern food sector industries.

This proposal intends to address specific needs of the food sector industries, which are experiencing significant knowledge loss due to an ageing workforce and increasing personnel retirements. Although automation within the sector has been significant in recent decades, there remains a lack of knowledgeable personnel with specific chemical and technical expertise. In addition, there is a growing demand for skills and knowledge that are required to develop entrepreneurial skills to enable individual start-up of new food & drink businesses.

The content of the modules has been selected to address key issues relating to food science and technology. These are areas that are not only within the BBSRC remit (for example the DRINC Club) but also considered a priority within the European Union Horizon 2020 programme relating to up-skilling of staff working within the Food & Drink Sector Industries. A further objective of this programme is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills that will enable them as managers and leaders to make more informed, higher level decisions that will enhance competitiveness, innovation and new market opportunities, whilst responding to global challenges and consumer needs. The programme delivery method, modular contents and assessment procedures, combined with the various learning support tools have been selected to facilitate entry or return to higher level study. This is advantageous for busy professionals with either other competing commitments or who have been away from higher education for some time. Collectively these will help support and stimulate a desire for new knowledge and further upskilling for the benefit of the UK food and drink sector industries.

The new knowledge and skills provided to participants will enable them to identify relevant innovation, opportunities for the implementation of new technologies and assist them in the identification of new market opportunities. Consequently, this will enable more informed and strategic decisions in the workplace that will prove beneficial to them and their employers. In particular, study of the proposed modules will provide an improved awareness and understanding of the key concepts and related issues in advanced areas of food science and technology; especially those with potential for significant impact on the operation and performance of the food supply chain.

Although each individual module can be studied in isolation, the content has been designed to provide a complimentary suite of information; one that that will also enable participants to achieve a recognised postgraduate qualification. Successful completion of the three modules will provide participants with sufficient academic credit for the award of a Post Graduate Certificate (PGCert). The academic credit is transferable and can be used toward further postgraduate qualifications such as a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or Master of Science such as the MSc Food Science and Innovation.

The delivery method for the programme will limit impact on their performance of routine workplace duties for their employer, by minimising time away from the workplace. The assessment procedures used will encourage the application of new knowledge acquired to be implemented in the workplace that will have direct benefits to the employer. The use of reports, posters and presentations will further develop scientific presentation skills; a development need frequently identified by our industrial partners. The training programme will enhance the scientific leadership and management performance of the participants, which in turn will help ensure greater industry responsiveness to global challenges and consumer needs.

Accreditation of the programme by the Institute of Food Science & Technology will be sought. This will provide greater credibility and will assist future marketing and recruitment, particularly from industry.

Specific aims include:

  • To understand the principles of food science & technology and new developments
  • To gain practical experience of new developments in the food industry
  • To develop an in-depth understanding of current issues in the food sector industries
  • To focus on an integrated approach to new technological developments relevant to the food sector industries 

Degree programmes in Food Science are designed to develop the knowledge and skills required by those who are involved in food supply, manufacture and sale and associated regulatory and advisory work. Graduates with degrees in Food Science will have an understanding of the characteristics and composition of major food materials; the microbiology, nutritional quality, chemistry, physical properties and eating qualities of food; and the impact of food storage and processing. In particular, they will be able to identify and respond to technological and economic challenges encountered in food chains; evaluate developing technologies and where appropriate, apply them to commercial practice; understand the appropriate legislation, identify and evaluate public concerns on food safety; evaluate the wider consequences of food chain activities and minimise any harmful effects on the environment or on populations.

Graduates will possess an appreciation and in depth knowledge of the interacting nature of a range of elements within the broad definition of Food Science. Typically, students will develop an ability to synthesise concepts and ideas across disciplines and to take an holistic view of the overarching concepts within the discipline.

  • The development of integrated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches (All modules).
  • To develop a quantitative and qualitative approach to information (Module: FS7002).
  • To have consideration of continuing change and development of the subject area (All Modules).
  • To gain subject-specific and key skills, problem-solving and a professional approach to study and lifelong learning. (All Modules)

Graduates will have the following abilities and skills:

  • To be able to demonstrate a wide-range of subject specific facts and principles in combination with an awareness of the current limits of theory and applied knowledge. (All Modules)
  • To understand the provisional nature of information and allow for competing and alternative explanations within their subject. (All Modules)
  • To recognise and use appropriate theories, concepts and principles from a range of disciplines relevant to subject. (All Modules)
  • To design experimental protocols to test a hypothesis or proposition. (Module: FS7001)
  • To apply knowledge and understanding to address multidisciplinary problems (All Modules).
  • To understand the provisional nature of the facts and current limits of information and principles associated with the field of study. (All Modules)
  • To be able to plan and execute research or development work, evaluate the outcomes and draw valid conclusions. (Modules: FS7001)
  • To display transferable skills and ability to acquire new competencies required for career progression. (All Modules)

Programme delivery will be supplemented by visiting lecturers drawn from the food and drink sector industries to ensure industrial relevance. Participants will apply their learning to the workplace environment during the training period as part of their routine activities. This will be encouraged by the use of by module assessments that require participants to undertake an evaluative study of knowledge implementation in the workplace. Examples would include recommendations to improve existing processes, identifying opportunities for change, improve or alter practices, improve sustainability of operations, increase responsiveness to a changing marketplace, greater competitiveness, improved awareness of international markets and drivers. The assessed work will consist of activities such as reports and presentations in which the scope to implement new procedures, as well as an evaluation of the success of these actions, will be examined. The use of industry recognised management procedures such as SWOT analysis and risk-benefit analysis will be encouraged to maximise relevance and applicability to the workplace.

  • To plan their own work effectively and set realistic targets. (All Modules)
  • To organise teamwork and participate effectively in a team situation. (All Modules) 
  • To identify  individual and collective goals and responsibilities. (All Modules)
  • To reflect on and evaluate own performance as an individual or as part of a team. (All Modules)
  • To appreciate the need for professional codes of conduct where applicable. (All Modules)
  • To identify and work towards targets for personal, academic and career development. (All Modules)
  • To develop and adaptable and flexible approach to study and work. (All Modules)
  • To develop skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, including working independently and to develop time management and organisational skills. (All Modules)
  • To demonstrate the competence, behaviour and attitude required in a professional working life, including use of initiative, leadership and team skills. (All Modules)

 

Graduates will develop the following communication skills:

  • To be able to receive, evaluate and respond accordingly to a variety of information sources, including; electronic; textual; numerical; verbal and graphical. (All Modules)
  • To be able to communicate accurately, clearly, concisely, confidently and appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms. (All Modules)
  • To be able to contribute constructively to group discussions. (All Modules)
  • To consider, appreciate and evaluate the views of others. (All Modules)
  • To use the internet critically as a means of communication and as a source of information. (All Modules)
  • To demonstrate competence in the use of computer-based information handling and data processing tools. (All Modules)
  • To be able to use computer software to communicate information to a range of audiences effectively. (All Modules)

 

The Institute of Food Science & Innovation will use well-established systems and procedures for giving academic guidance and feedback to students, in line with University of Chester's guidelines. These will include:

  • Experienced Institute staff, who can offer advice and guidance on general matters of programme structure and Institute organisation;
  • The Programme Leader, who is responsible for the overall operation of the programme;
  • The Personal Academic Tutor  (PAT), who can provide personal and academic guidance throughout the period of study;
  • The Module leaders and Tutors of each module undertaken, who are able to provide guidance and feedback relating specifically to individual modules.

Each module comprises 200 hours of total student study time, typically comprising:

  • 28-40 hours intensive course of lectures, seminars, group discussions, laboratory activities;
  • 10 hours of tutorial support, (for Distance learners this will be via Skype, telephone or email contact);
  • 150-162 hours of directed self-study

Students prepare an assignment(s) using the tutor-prepared Module Text, accompanying online learning resources and primary research journals. The specific assessment requirements for each module are set out in the module descriptors. 

The Institute of Food Science & Innovation will use well-established processes for consultation on programme quality and content that will in-part be informed by extensive industry consultation to ensure that new developments are incorporated into learning and teaching strategies. The Programme content will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure currency and relevance to both students and industry employers.

Student module evaluation forms are completed and analysed at the conclusion of each module. This process provides an opportunity for students to evaluate their own approach to studying and learning. In addition, each Module Tutor is required to complete a tutor module evaluation form. At the end of the academic year, the Programme Leader is responsible for completing the Annual Programme Monitoring Report (AMR) form, which contributes to the Institute's Annual Report.

The monitoring is supplemented by regular Programme Cohort meetings which function as Staff/Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) for Distance and Part-time students. These meetings with staff take place at least once every academic year to discuss course delivery, resource issues and other items identified by students. In addition, all students can raise issues regarding individual Modules and/or the general programme with the Programme Leader at any time through their course of study. Minutes of all SSLCs will be considered at Programme Team meetings and displayed via the VLE.

Each student will be provided with a Programme Handbook on registration, which is also available on the VLE. This fully explains the organisation of the programme and describes the provision for academic guidance as detailed above.

The programme Management Team will meet at least annually to discuss issues raised either by staff or students through Staff/Student Liaison meetings. Between them the staff have considerable teaching/research/consultancy and external examiner experience. A staff away day, will be held once each year to review progress and discuss issues, such as teaching, learning and assessment issues and to further long term development strategies.

The Programme Planning Team are responsible for:

  • The academic rigour and balance of the programme;
  • Monitoring student progress and ensuring the effective operation of student support mechanisms;
  • Reflecting on student feedback from staff-student liaison committee meetings and module questionnaires;
  • Arrangement of appropriate internal moderation and feedback mechanisms for marking of coursework and examinations;
  • Ensuring that the programme is conducted in accordance with University and QAA academic regulations and requirements;
  • Promotion and marketing of the programme;
  • Programme enrichment and modification through proposing and development of new modules.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
FS7001 7 Functional Foods and Bioactive Ingredients 20 N/A
FS7002 7 Food Nanotechnology 20 N/A
FS7003 7 Packaging Innovations 20 N/A

Credit is awarded for the achievement of the learning outcomes of the modules.  Modules are closely linked to the research expertise of the staff concerned with delivering them. There is a commitment to the development of transferable skills within the curriculum and personal profiling as an aid to personal development. The learning outcomes for each module are carefully graded to ensure progression and in keeping with national frameworks. Employability and subject key skills are incorporated across the programme and also delivered in a progressive fashion in keeping with national expectations of graduate capabilities. The QAA (2009) benchmark statements for Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food and consumer sciences have been used to guide the content of the modules and mapping has been done to ensure adequate coverage of threshold statements.

None

N/A

Applicants will have a first undergraduate degree in a food related discipline, such as Food Science or Food Chemistry.

Applicants who can demonstrate more than 5 years of working within the food industry will be admitted onto the course based on acceptable references.

Applicants whose first language is not English must have an appropriate level of English proficiency certification. This should include the name and result of any English language test taken, as well as copies of the appropriate certificates.

UKVI Approved SELT Tests

Postgraduate

IELTS*

6.5 (Min 5.5 in each sub-skill)

Trinity College London ISE

ISEII - Pass in all 4 components

*IELTS tests must have been taken at a UKVI approved test centre for exams taken on or after 6th April 2015.  

Country Specific 

We may also accept other country specific English Language proficiency examinations (e.g. WAEC or Indian Standard XII). 

QAA Subject Benchmark Statements are derived from:

Agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food and consumer sciences (2009)

Food Science and Technology is the understanding and application of a range of sciences to satisfy the needs of society for sustainable food security, quality and safety.

Degree programmes in food science and technology are designed to develop the knowledge and skills required by those who are involved in food supply, manufacture and sale and associated regulatory and advisory work. Graduates with degrees in food science and technology will have an understanding of the characteristics and composition of major food materials; the microbiology, nutritional quality, chemistry, physical properties and eating qualities of food; and the impact of food storage and processing. In particular, they will be able to identify and respond to technological and economic challenges encountered in food chains; evaluate developing technologies and where appropriate, apply them to commercial practice; understand the appropriate legislation; identify and evaluate public concerns on food safety; evaluate the wider consequences of food chain activities; and minimise any harmful effects on the environment and on people.

Members of the Institute of Food science & Innovation have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Institute has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development. Consequently, students encounter a broad range of teaching and learning experiences across all levels of study as befits the subject matter.

Methods of teaching and learning are indicated clearly in each module descriptor and the list that follows describes the variety of approaches used by tutors. 

Lectures: These feature in all modules as an effective way of imparting important content, themes and pointers for further study. Additionally, they are supplemented by a variety of other methods of teaching and learning as described below. 

Practical classes: These provide the opportunity for students to develop their data handling and analytical skills as well as their practical skills (eg. handling equipment). An important aspect of practical work is also the opportunity it offers for group work encouraging working with others.  

Seminars: These are used most often in modules in which group sizes are relatively small and students tend to be more confident. Selected topics of the module content are chosen to provide the opportunity for more in-depth study and dissemination of ideas.  Amongst other key skills, students are able to practise oral communication skills in a relatively informal context.  When students have specific queries that have not been addressed during formal teaching sessions, they can contact module tutors directly. In practice, these discussions tend to focus on assessment issues, including feedback on formative essays and the initial drafts of assignments. A system is in operation whereby students can make appointments to consult tutors either personally or via Skype calls.  

Intranet-based support materials The University has an intranet (Moodle) available to all students on or off campus. This offers access to a wide range of facilities including Learning Resources, the Library, e-mail and all modular support materials. Online journals and social media are also used to enhance learning.

Directed reading As reading is central to the process of knowledge acquisition in higher education, module tutors provide reading lists to guide their students to appropriate material. Increasingly, these lists include references to the Internet and electronic sources, as well as more traditional book and journal references.  

Group work The QAA subject benchmark (2009) document lists teamwork as one of the six categories of graduate transferable skills that needs to be demonstrated in higher education.  Throughout the programme, teamwork has been incorporated with progression incorporated through the modules. In many modules, particularly in practical work in the laboratory, students are encouraged to work in groups and to share ideas. 

Induction Prior to the start of the programme, all students have an Induction Programme which introduces them to the University and the Institute. There are group sessions on, for example, learning to learn, plagiarism, preparing for assignments and using the University VLE (Moodle). The Learning Support Service is also introduced.

The University's level related criteria are a key reference when designing modular assessments. Therefore, progression towards more complex and involved assessments, that require greater levels of study autonomy and greater levels of critical analysis, underpins the overall assessment strategy of the programme. Regular and structured formative assessment is a feature of the programme ensuring that students have regular and informed feedback on their learning.

Course Work 

It is the Institute’s policy to use a variety of assessment processes so that our students can demonstrate their abilities in a variety of assessment modes. Generally, staff choose 50% course work and 50% presentation methods. 

We feel that in preparing course work, which can include essays, laboratory work and presentations, students are given time and scope to present their work in a variety of modes.

The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing has repeatedly identified the need for greater training and provision of food technologists to counteract the effect of skills loss due to an ageing workforce and lack of higher level skills. 

Through previous and current projects, we have developed extensive links with regional and national food supply chain industries that encompass produces, processors, retailers and analytical equipment manufacturers. Their needs range from up-skilling to knowledge transfer and provision of accessible training schemes that allow flexible study and minimise impact on workplace function. Additional market research activities have included consultation with:

  • Regional business development organisations (Mersey Dee Alliance and Trade Associations).
  • Food and drink sector industry primes (AB World Foods, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Coco-Cola, Marks and Spencer, Muller Dairies, Malvern Instruments, Perkin Elmer, Stable Microsystems) and regional SMEs
  • Membership organisations (Institute of Food Science & Technology)

This scoping exercise has confirmed the deficit of specialist skills and knowledge in areas which the proposed programme will address. Specific requirements identified include the need to respond to consumer demand for clean label products, implement procedures such as ingredient substitution (for enhanced health benefits and replacement of animal derived materials) for the expanding restricted diet markets (halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan etc.) in the UK and international markets. There is also a need to address the changing demographic and develop niche products either to prevent or control chronic disorders such as obesity or cardiovascular disease, or to service new and expanding market segments such as the elderly. In addition, Packaging Technology is of national significance as new technology is increasingly employed to develop advanced packaging and innovative use of molecular biosensors and incorporation of nanotechnology to enhance barrier qualities and extend shelf-life of products. 

An integrated programme addressing these specific topics, in particular key areas of national significance such as the application of nanotechnology to the food and drink sector, which is not currently available. The proposed programme will address this market failure and increase knowledge and understanding of key areas with applied sector specific benefits. The workforce upskilling will equip businesses with the scientific understanding necessary to encourage innovation and provide beneficiaries with greater market penetration and enhanced range of product development. This will lead to increased competitiveness and economic growth, creation and preservation of employment.

This programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue careers in the area of food science & technology, either in industry or within the regulatory authorities. In addition, the transferable skills embedded throughout the programme will benefit graduates considering a change of career and equip them to enter other areas of employment (e.g. management, new product development or packaging specialisms).

The programme has been developed with significant input from the Institute of Food Science & Innovation extensive industry contact database. Employer liaison meetings will be held every 6 months with the Programme Planning Team  to review new developments in the industry. These meetings will act as a platform to review content of the programme, ensuring that new industry developments are incorporated into teaching and learning. The programme will therefore remain current and relevant to both students and industry employers.

The programme is therefore clearly linked to the University's learning and teaching strategy to increase employer engagement and involvement with curriculum development. This is fully in-line with University corporate objectives to increase employer-driven provision. 

Graduates of this post graduate programme should be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues systematically and creatively and communicate findings to specialists and other professional groups;
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in problem-solving across a variety of areas;
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding and to develop new skills to a high level and possess the necessary qualities and transferable skills at an advanced professional level  

Postgraduate study involves the development of reflective practice, such that the student can modify personal professional activity, critically evaluate scientific information sources and methodologies and possess the ability to perform such activities autonomously. 

Typical career opportunities include:

  • New product development
  • Production management
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical management
  • Food safety & quality systems
  • Auditing and regulatory affairs
  • Product buying
  • Consultancy
  • Packaging specialisms
  • Business start-up and entrepreneurship

The programmes of study in the Institute of Food Science & Innovation fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
    • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
    • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
    • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
    • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking enhances equal opportunity to all students.
    • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
    • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.
  • All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise.

The programme Management Team will meet at least annually to discuss issues raised either by staff or students through Staff/Student Liaison meetings.  A staff away day, will be held once each year to review progress and discuss issues, such as teaching, learning and assessment issues and to further long term development strategies.

In the assessment, student module evaluation forms are completed and analysed at the conclusion of each module. This process provides an opportunity for students to evaluate their own approach to studying and learning. In addition, each Module Tutor is required to complete a tutor module evaluation form.

The monitoring is supplemented by regular Programme Cohort meetings which function as Staff/Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) for Distance and Part-time students. These meetings with staff take place at least once every academic year to discuss course delivery, resource issues and other items identified by students. In addition, all students can raise issues regarding individual Modules and/or the general programme with the Programme Leader at any time through their course of study. Minutes of all SSLCs will be considered at Programme Team meetings and displayed via the VLE.

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