Memorandum submitted by the Institute
of Food Science and Technology (IFST)
1. The IFST is the independent professional
qualifying body for food scientists and technologists.
Its purposes are:
(a) to serve the public interest by furthering
the application of science and technology to all aspects of the
supply of safe, wholesome, nutritious and attractive food, nationally
(b) to advance the standing of food science
and technology, both as a subject and as a profession;
(c) to assist members in their career and
personal development within the profession; and
(d) to uphold professional standards of competence
2. The inquiry is focussed on the role of
the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. We wish
to comment on the role of the Royal Society and that of professional
bodies such as IFST.
3. The Royal Society is a body whose members
are outstanding academic scientists. There is no doubt about the
prestige and intellectual quality of the Society and its members.
However, the Society is not representative of British science
and technology as a whole as it fails to represent the very broad
spectrum of science and technology within the UK, and which is
of vital importance to the maintenance of the economic competitiveness
of the country and the well being of its citizens.
4. The Royal Society quite properly recognises
the importance of groundbreaking, innovative research. However
this tends to lead to a definition of science quality which recognises
the novel but does not recognise that major innovations in academic
science require a huge effort of applied research and development
in order to turn them into practical innovations leading to wealth
creation and improvements in the quality of life. As a result
of this, applied science and technology such as food science is
not per se represented in the Society despite its importance
to the country's economy and well being.
5. Professional and learned bodies such
as the IFST represent a much broader range of science and technology
than does the Royal Society and are therefore much more in touch
with the mainstream of science and technology in the country.
6. Because of the range of expertise and
experience encompassed by Institutes such as IFST they are in
a very strong position to assemble expert panels in order give
objective specialist advice to the Government. The quality and
activity of the IFST in providing independent information is evidenced
by its long record of objective scientific responses to consultations
by government departments and agencies, and by its Information
Statements on a number of issues of public concern.
7. The funding currently directed to the
Royal Society could be more widely dispersed to other learned
and professional and scientific societies in order to ensure a
wider spread of advice to government and public.