Working collaboratively, NZIFST and CREST initiated the Challenge to give senior secondary students the opportunity to experience, first hand, the innovative work done by scientists, technologists and engineers in NZ’s food industry, and to raise the profile of a career in this industry.
The Challenge is linked with the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Team Silver CREST Awards so all participants who achieve the CREST assessment criteria are able to add this prestigious award to their Academic Curriculum Vitae.
The Challenge is designed to encourage students to be innovative, creative and to problem solve in food science and technology.
The Challenge requires teams of Year 11/12/13 students, who are studying NCEA science and/or food technology, to develop a new food product for an industry client, following the process defined in the Team Silver CREST Awards (very similar to the product development process used by the food industry)
Each team is supported by a CREST Consultant/Mentor, a professional from the food industry, who could be also be a Futureintech Ambassador or NZIFST member.
Each team receives sponsorship from the food industry, to contribute to the costs the school has incurred in entering the Challenge.
Participating teachers in the North Island receive professional development from the staff of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University and participating teachers in the South Island are supported by staff from the University of Otago and Lincoln University .
The professional Food Scientist and Technologists who assess the projects using the CREST criteria also judge the regional competitions.
The Challenge has been an invaluable lesson in implementing food science and technology, as practiced by the food industry into secondary schools.
More importantly, this has been an outstanding example of collaboration involving teachers, students, the tertiary sector, Futureintech, the food industry, NZIFST and the Royal Society of New Zealand resulting in students choosing Food Science and Technology as future learning pathways and career choices.