Legacy of Warwickshire’s first Woman High Sheriff helps University of Warwick tackle global food security

16th Oct 2014

A trust set up by a leading Warwickshire farmer who was the first woman to be High Sheriff of Warwickshire, has announced that it has agreed to fund a Chair in Food Security at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences. The announcement has just been made by The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust.

Professor Laura Green, Head of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, said: “The support of the Trust to enable us to create the Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security will make a significant difference to a research and impact programme focused on the crucial issue of ‘Food’. 'Food' is one of the University of Warwick's Global Research Priorities, where we are focusing our research efforts on issues of food security, food production and supply, environmental and social sustainability, governance, social justice, nutrition and public health.”

In addition to the Chair in Food Security the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust have also kindly agreed to fund a special Scholarship Fund at the University of Warwick which will provide funding to support students wishing to undertake placements in commercial laboratories, other academic research facilities, or with growers and producers, or to support their study for an MSc or PhD.

Clyde Higgs Paul May, a trustee for the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust and Elizabeth Creak’s Nephew said: “Elizabeth would have been proud to support the important work in food security at The University of Warwick by funding the new Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security. Her own farm was just five minutes’ drive away from the University’s crop centre Wellesbourne and she was a close friend of Jack and Doris Butterworth, the University’s first Vice-Chancellor and his wife. Clyde Higgs, Elizabeth’s uncle, was well known for introducing innovation into dairy farming and it is appropriate that innovative research into food security at Warwick will benefit the farming community both here in the UK and internationally.” 

This significant support by The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust is a very timely complement to UK government’s own renewed focus on investment in agri-tech research through its industrial strategy. The Trust’s funding announcement follows closely after the news last week of such government support that for a partnership of leading Midlands universities, led by the University of Warwick. The Warwick led partnership has been awarded £13 million by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to train 260 PhD research students over the next 5 years in a number of areas including food security.

A core part of the University of Warwick’s food security research is delivered through the Warwick Crop Centre which is part of University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences and is located on the University’s Wellesbourne campus. WCC has expertise including; crop breeding, plant pathology, entomology, agronomy, crop nutrition and environmental research. Warwick Crop Centre also works closely with industry delivering knowledge and technology to farmers and growers with emphasis on cost-effective production of high quality crops with minimal environmental impact.

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