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NUT3004 : Contemporary Issues in Food and Human Nutrition

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Thomas Hill
  • Lecturer: Dr Kirsten Brandt, Dr Anthony Watson
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


i) To encourage students to develop a critical approach to the analysis of dogma and to the resolution of controversies. To enhance the student's ability to acquire, assess and communicate complex information in written forms appropriate to the audience. To provide in-depth exposure to current globally relevant research in the areas of food and human nutrition.

ii) To encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a broad range of global current issues relating to the area of Food & Human Nutrition that impact on human health, the food industry, and society. To encourage the development of skills in the assessment, and written communication, of complex information.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module uses didactic and self-directed learning approaches. It will be based on case studies, research-led seminars, and assignments and will focus on new research, current official publications, and controversial topics in the field of food and human nutrition. The module will provide a balance of subject matter representing the breadth of the degree programme.

The subject material will be chosen from a range of topics that are considered as ‘hot topics in the nutrition field in a global context, such as:

- Recent research on the role of animal and plant foods in diets, global food and nutrition sustainability, climate change research linked to the food sector and the concept of a ‘healthy diet for a healthy planet’.
- Novel food products and processes e.g. genetically-engineered plants and animals and vertical farming technology with specific technical or organoleptic properties.
- Latest developments in the food regulatory environment with a particular focus on the UK, the role of the Foods Standards Agency and the implications of Brexit.

Exposure to high-level research: Students will attend a relevant meeting of a Learned Society or visit organisations with remits in food and human nutrition to hear from and meet leading scientists and to discuss current research issues.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Non-sync online. Pre-recorded research seminars on range of contemporary topics - external speakers
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion155:0055:00Preparation for the research project proposal assignment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading155:0055:00Preparation for individual briefing paper assignment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0012:00Reflection and additional reading based on material provided at conference
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Sync-online: Research project proposal writing techniques and guidance on the research project prop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00PIP - Selected seminars on a range of topics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Sync-online - Tutorial to provide guidance on the briefing paper assignment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Attendance at full day online conference
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0024:00Students read widely and develop broad understanding of seminar topics integrating materials from re
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module builds on (1) a set of specialized and relevant research-led seminars and tutorials delivered by key teaching staff and guest speakers in Food and Human Nutrition and (2) student attendance at national or international nutrition conference based in the UK which delivers key information relevant to the subject and provides information upon which the students can extend their learning by a private study using on-line resources provided (assessed by preparing a scientific briefing paper and a research project proposal).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M50Written individual conference briefing paper 8 pages plus executive summary
Research proposal2M50Written research project proposal formatted to Innovate UK guidelines (i.e. 5 application questions of 400 words each + 1-page appx
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Briefing paper: Sem 1

Each student will be expected to prepare a written scientific briefing paper case study from the conference.
Assessment of a briefing paper building on topics covered at the conference is designed to test students' abilities to integrate material across module boundaries to develop understanding in selected fast developing topics and to present complex and conflicting information clearly in a written form.

Research project proposal: Sem 2

Each student be expected to prepare a written research project proposal based on meeting the nutritional needs of a defined population (group) based on the seminar topics as well as other modules in the programme.

The research project proposal enables students to gain an understanding of the research process from conceptualization of novel ideas, right through to hypothesis generation and the formulation of a coherent and convincing grant application to a leading UKRI funding body such as Innovate UK.

Reading Lists