Future science graduates to help solve food waste crisis

Honours in food waste - Sophie Riley

Cutting down on waste: Honours student Sophie Riley is working on a research project that involves creating ice cream from potato waste.

Future scientists will be at the forefront of the fight to address Australia’s $20 billion food waste crisis.

The world’s largest research and development centre for reducing and transforming food waste has opened in Adelaide and will provide a hub of opportunities for University of Adelaide science students and graduates.

Forty-two per cent of all food produced in Australia is wasted. The new Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will explore innovative and profitable ways to drastically reduce this.

“It’s crazy to think we produce enough food to feed 60 million people in Australia … but waste so much,” Fight Food Waste CRC CEO Steven Lapidge said.

On average, each household throws away almost $4000 worth of un-eaten food each year.

Dr Lapidge explained that when we waste food at consumer level, we waste all of the resources that have got it to that stage.

“It’s not only the water and the fertiliser on the farm; but it’s all the transport; the cost of manufacturing and processing; and then transport again to supermarkets and to your own home,” Dr Lapidge says, in the video below.

Food wastage footprint chart

Not just economical damage, but environmental damage: If food loss and waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter. It generates more than four times as much annual greenhouse gas emissions as aviation and is comparable to emissions from road transport.

Video: Why do we waste food and what can we do about it?

Career opportunities for science students and graduates

The $121 million Fight Food Waste CRC is funded for ten years and will provide career and research opportunities for University of Adelaide science students.

The centre will be looking for ‘future scientists’ to provide expertise and support in developing solutions to combat food waste.

“The University of Adelaide is delivering the expertise necessary to grow Australia’s agriculture, food and wine industries,” Dr Lapidge said.

“Now is an excellent time to study and launch your career in science.

“As our research and activities take off, we’ll be looking for scientists who are passionate about applying their skills and knowledge to developing solutions to fight food waste.”

The centre’s experts will also teach into the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine’s degree programs.

The centre is based at Waite campus, the largest concentration of agricultural science research and teaching expertise in the southern hemisphere. Waite campus is home to undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in agricultural science, viticulture and oenology, food and nutrition, plant and soil science, and applied biology.

Become a future scientist

As the number one university in South Australia for science*, you’ll be ready to solve problems across diverse areas of agriculture, food and wine science with undergraduate and postgraduate study in:


Explore diverse agricultural and natural resources through industry placements and on-campus partners. Our agricultural sciences degree gives you the highest chance of full-time employment, compared to any other degree in SA.

Applied biology

Explore the world of biodiversity and sustainable food production. Pursue your passion for biology and kick-start your career with majors in plant innovation, biochemistry, genetics and microbiology and immunology.

Food and nutrition science

Pursue your passion for food and nutrition science. Prepare for a rewarding career in public health and nutrition or the food and beverage industry. Study a degree ranked third in Australia, and best in SA for food science and technology.*

Bachelor of Science (Advanced)

Our Bachelor of Science (Advanced) provides experience in the academic and research culture of the scientific areas you are most interested in. It still provides the choice and flexibility of a Bachelor of Science.

Viticulture and winemaking

Study wine making and the science behind wine. Graduate as a fully trained oenologist or viticulturist, ready to make wine, grow grapes and manage your own winery or vineyard.

PhD opportunities

PhD research projects are available in the three focal areas of the Fight Food Waste CRC – REDUCING food waste, TRANSFORMING unavoidable food waste into valuable products, and ENGAGING with industry and consumers to change their behaviour.

Tagged in Agriculture, Viticulture and Oenology, Food Science, Research, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, Waite Research Institute

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition