Sci­en­tist sets out on vegie mis­sion

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - ROGER HAN­SON

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.”

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