News Archive 2020
Food forensic expert honoured by Queen’s University
A leading expert in food safety and authenticity, and a longtime partner of IGFS, has received an honorary professorship from Queen’s University Belfast.
Dr Michael Walker, Head of the Office of the UK Government Chemist, has had the title ‘Professor of Practice’ conferred on him.
A graduate of Queen’s, Sussex and Kingston universities, Dr Walker has always maintained close links with Queen’s. He worked alongside Professor Chris Elliott in the ‘Elliott Review’ into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks in the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal.
He has collaborated with a number of other IGFS scientists on research projects and publications and contributes to the supervision of final-year undergraduate projects alongside IGFS Emeritus Professor, Duncan Thorburn Burns.
Dr Walker also sits on the Industrial Advisory Board of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s.
A champion of forensic measurement science, particularly as it applies to food allergens and authenticity, he remains a very active (and past local Chair) of the Institute of Food Science & Technology and was awarded an honorary Fellowship of IFST.
Michael is experienced in the fields of public strategy and policy. After serving as Public Analyst in Northern Ireland he spent a short period as Chief Executive of Forensic Science NI before taking up post at the Office of the Government Chemist, at the UK National Measurement Laboratory in Teddington, south west London.
In parallel, he has been a non-executive Director with the Consumer Council, a founder Board member of the Food Standards Agency and a Board member of AFBI, the Agrifood Biosciences Institute for NI. Michael applies his science in his own chemico-legal consultancy as an expert witness.
Director of IGFS, Professor Nigel Scollan said the honorary professorship was a fitting acknowledgement of Dr Walker’s contribution. “Michael has given strong support and assistance to Queen’s over many years,” he said. “We have benefitted from his insights into the bioanalysis of food allergens and in many other key food-safety and authenticity research areas and I look forward to continuing close collaboration.”