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New Zealand scientist appointed to global think tank

New Zealand scientist appointed to global food and nutrition security think tank

The world's leading science academy body has set up a four-person think tank to report on ways to reduce the number of chronically malnourished people and address the challenge posed by the planet's rapidly growing human population.

The Global Food and Nutrition Security Think Tank will be chaired by Professor Volker ter Muelen of Germany and includes Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan of the Riddet Institute, a Government-funded centre of research excellence hosted by Massey University in New Zealand.

The initiative will be funded by the International Academy Partnership (IAP), which is a global network of science academies. Professor Moughan will contribute in his capacity as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He will travel to Germany in June to contribute to the project.

Professor Moughan says the number of people chronically malnourished in the world is currently around 800 million.

"In recent years, considerable inroads have been made on global malnutrition. The think tank will consider how science can aid agriculture and food production to continue to reduce chronic malnourishment."

"Alongside this, we know our planet's population will increase rapidly over the next 50 years. We not only need to reduce malnourishment, we also need to find ways to produce more foods so we can support the anticipated population growth, but this must be done sustainably."

Professor Moughan says he is humbled by the appointment. "The issues the think tank will consider, while daunting, are not insurmountable. We need science-based solutions to the challenges we face. I'm pleased to have been selected and I hope this initiative goes some way to improving the lives of those who currently don't have food or nutrition security."

Professor Moughan holds the position of Distinguished Professor at Massey University and is co-director of the Riddet Institute, a partnership between Massey University, the Universities of Auckland and Otago and two New Zealand Crown Research Institutes, Plant and Food Research and AgResearch. It is dedicated to research and postgraduate education in the area of food science and human nutrition.

Professor Moughan was appointed to the foundation chair in monogastric biology at Massey University in 1993 and his research has encompassed the fields of human and animal nutrition, food chemistry, functional foods, mammalian growth biology and digestive physiology. He has published in excess of 350 scientific works. In 1995 he was awarded Doctor of Science and in 1997 was awarded a Personal Chair at Massey University and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He sits on a number of editorial boards and is an adviser to the international food and feedstuffs industries.

During his career, he has received several prestigious international awards for his work and in 2012 both he and Professor Harjinder Singh, co-director of the Riddet Institute received the New Zealand Prime Minister's Supreme Science Prize as an acknowledgement of their team’s contribution to advancing knowledge in food protein science internationally. In 2014 he received an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Guelph in Canada in recognition of his significant academic contributions and leadership in food and human nutrition sciences.

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