Scientist wins top industry award

A leading livestock scientist has won this year’s David Black Award for her contribution to the UK pig industry.

Professor Sandra Edwards, the current chair of agriculture at the University of Newcastle, was handed the award at a prize-giving held at the House of Lords in London on Tuesday (27 October). She is described as having “worked tirelessly to provide new knowledge that enhances the sustainability of pig production in this country”.

Professor Edwards said: “I am very honoured to receive this award, especially as this is from colleagues for whom I have huge respect.”

Referring to her colleagues and students, she added: “Anything I have achieved has not been a solo effort. I consider this award is as much theirs as it is mine.”

Professor Edwards has written over 400 scientific articles, books and presentations on the pig industry and has served on a number of committees including the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the EU Scientific Veterinary Committee and the European Food Safety Authority.

Chairman of the judges Mick Sloyan said: “Her enthusiasm and wide knowledge have been an inspiration to many. Striking a balance between the aspirations of animal welfare organisations and the practical capability to deliver profitable production has been a constant challenge. Time and again, Sandra’s scientific background and high-quality research and development have helped government, industry and welfare organisations find common ground.”

However, in her speech, the professor voiced her concerns over a perceived growing divide between academia and industry and pleaded for more investment in applied research from both government and industry.

The David Black Awards, sponsored by Bpex, also saw squadron leader David Tanner win a Sausage Oscar for his work in procurement and British pork. The event was attended by Bpex chairman Stewart Houston, Defra minister Jim Fitzpatrick, former minister Jane Kennedy and a number of MPs and lords from across the Houses.