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University of Nottingham appoints new head of brewing research

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham has announced a new high-profile appointment to lead its world class research into brewing science.

Joanne Hort has been appointed as the SABMiller Chair of Sensory Science and Head of Brewing Science within the University’s School of Biosciences.

The position has been funded by SABMiller, one of the world’s largest brewing companies and a partner in the University’s multi-million pound Bioenergy and Brewing Science Building at its Sutton Bonington campus.

Professor Hort has an international reputation in the area of sensory science and is the chair of the European Sensory Science Society. Her research focuses on how people perceive their food and beverages, extending beyond the purely chemical analysis of taste to consider the consumer’s emotional response to what they eat and drink.

Professor Hort said: “I’m delighted to be appointed SABMiller Chair in Sensory Science and look forward to heading up a world-leading Brewing Science team. Brewing faces many challenges in the future, not least in terms of sustainable production. Understanding and maintaining the sensory quality of beer has never been more critical for the industry as it continues to consider developments in raw material selection, the beer making process and the needs of its discerning consumers.

“My expertise in Sensory Science provides an excellent opportunity to expand the already well-established research and teaching programmes in Brewing Science and thus serve the ever growing needs of the brewing industry.”

Professor Neil Crout, Head of the University’s School of Biosciences, said: “I am delighted that Joanne is joining our brewing team. This appointment recognises the increasing importance of sensory science within the food industry generally and brewing especially. We are confident Joanne’s appointment will further develop our important relationship with SABMiller.”

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “Our partnership with SABMiller is highly valued. It delivers high quality fundamental and translational research and innovation in teaching and learning. It is a model business-university partnership. Professor Hort’s appointment to the SABMiller Chair will provide new leadership to drive forward our joint activities for the benefit of both organisations.”

Professor Hort follows in the footsteps of Professor Katherine Smart, a previous holder of a SABMiller professorship within the School of Biosciences who pioneered brewing science at The University of Nottingham.

During her seven years at Nottingham, Professor Smart was instrumental in developing research programmes in malting, yeast genomics, fermentation and flavour and establishing the Bioenergy and Brewing Science Building, which features a state-of-the-art micro brewery and was opened in 2011 to advance innovative and sustainable solutions for biofuels, brewing science and food and drink processing. Professor Smart also led the development of the pioneering SABMiller sponsored MSc course in Brewing Science at the University.

Professor Smart left The University of Nottingham in June last year to take up the post of Group Chief Brewer at SABMiller, further strengthening the relationship between the two organisations.

Tony van Kralingen, SABMiller Director: Supply Chain & Human Resources, said: “We founded the SABMiller Chair in 2005 because we have a strongly held belief in the importance of supporting brewing research and education programmes. Significant improvements in water and energy efficiency; or major enhancements to the consumer experience of beer will only be achieved if we remain committed to inspiring talented individuals to focus on core areas of research. Our partnership with The University of Nottingham has been very successful and is a collaboration we value greatly. Professor Hort’s appointment marks the beginning of the next phase of our partnership with the University and we look forward to working with her and her team.”

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