Kansas State University officials have announced that they've established a Food Science Institute, a move that meshes all of the current food science expertise on the Manhattan campus.
The step will not include new facilities, and Institute staff will work with existing faculty to accomplish the goals of the food science program. The university is simply combining its existing resources in education, research and extension, which will enhance the coordination, visibility and capacity of food science programs, said professor Curtis Kastner, who has been named director of the Institute.
"The Institute will facilitate food science programs across the university," Kastner said. "These programs will serve students, consumers, clientele in the food industry, the scientific community and government agencies."
Centralizing many areas of expertise is a model that has worked successfully at K-State in the past. Other examples include the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment, the Plant Biotechnology Center and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.
"(The Food Science Institute) will allow K-State to hang out a 'shingle' letting national food science associations, the food industry and governmental agencies know that K-State has a significant investment in food science and food safety," said Marc Johnson, director of K-State Research and Extension.
The university's current programs include food chemistry, human nutrition and functional foods, food engineering, food microbiology and food safety (both pre and post harvest), physical chemistry and rheology, product development, sensory analysis, cereal science, fruit and vegetable processing, dairy food technology, meat science, poultry and egg science, food toxicology, and food service.
"The Institute will be able to represent all of these units as a voice for Kansas State University food science," a position that also will support grant-writing opportunities, Johnson said.
Kastner said the Institute is already fully-established, with an office in Waters Hall (room 148). The temporary telephone number for the new office is (785) 532-1234.
"This doesn't represent a change in our research focus," Kastner said. "We are going to build on the strengths of Kansas State University, but also look at how we can add other areas of emphasis that can be a result of further integrating the existing strengths of our programs."
Kastner said the Institute will increase its work in distance learning. The university is planning to offer an "enhanced, food science graduate program," a non-degree graduate program, an undergraduate certificate and a bachelor's degree, he said.
"We have several programs at Kansas State that are nationally and internationally recognized in the industry; people do recognize us as a national and international force," Kastner said. "Plus, students who have been in our program are now out in the work force. They portray Kansas State as a major player, not only in how they represent Kansas State, but also in how they do their jobs all over the world."