Scientist sets out on vegie mission
A HOBART food scientist has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research ways to increase the usage of vegetables in healthy readyto-eat foods.
Dr Hazel MacTavish-West, one of seven Tasmanians to receive a fellowship, will travel in March 2018 for two months to Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Italy for her research.
“I am really excited and thrilled about being awarded a fellowship,” Dr MacTavishWest said.
“I see it as a watershed moment of my career.”
Only two of the fellowship recipients will study foodbased projects.
Dr MacTavish-West has long been involved in new food product development and innovation, covering shelf-life and sensory trials to packaging design for some of Tasmania’s key food businesses, including salad-leaf producer Houston’s Farm and the Dunalley Potato Farm.
“My research will include looking at technologies and equipment that are being used to convert fruit and vegetables into more stable food formats. For example carrots can be turned into a powder, or a puree, and then be used as ingredients in other food products.”
In Italy, Dr MacTavishWest will focus on agricultural food tourism because of its growing importance in Tasmania.
“I will talk to people about what they are doing and get an insight into cost-effective solutions that are nimble and versatile,” she said.
Churchill Trust chief executive Adam Davey said more than 52 years had passed since the Churchill Fellowship was first awarded in honour of Sir Winston Churchill.
“The projects that will be aided by his legacy are still, as he intended, firmly focused on the future.
“While our organisation and what it offers may be steeped in history, we are proud that it still remains extraordinarily relevant,” Mr Davey said.
“This year, 109 people from a pool of 1140 applicants are being awarded fellowships worth over $2.8 million in total, fully funding their travel for up to 8 weeks.”