World’s leading food university awards top medal to NZ professor

Professor Fresco presenting Professor Paul Moughan with his Wageningen University silver medal
Friday 14th December 2018

The Netherlands’ top university and world leader in food science, life sciences and natural resources research, Wageningen University and Research has awarded its supreme silver medal award to a Manawatū-based New Zealand scientist, Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan.

Professor Moughan is a Fellow Laureate of the Riddet Institute, a New Zealand Government-funded centre of research excellence hosted by Massey University, and has a long and distinguished career in protein science both at Massey and at Wageningen, where he spends time working and teaching every year.

Wageningen University and Research is a combination of the university and the Dutch Government-owned former agricultural research institutes, with 12,000 students each year. The university is celebrating its centenary this year, remains the No 1 ranked university in the world for agriculture, food science and technology and consistently ranks in the top 150 universities of the world.

The Riddet Institute hosted Prof Fresco for her visit to New Zealand and a variety of events about agrifood were held. The medal was presented by Prof. Louise O. Fresco, the President of the Executive Board of WUR at a ceremony in Wellington. During the ceremony, Professor Fresco outlined the reasons for the award saying ”This honour is extended very rarely and is because of Prof Moughan’s excellence in protein nutrition research and committed and motivated collaboration with WUR. We have had over 80 collaborative research projects together, over 34 years”.

Throughout his impressive career, Paul Moughan has been a great advocate of the collaboration between Massey University and Wageningen University & Research. His association with WUR started in 1985 when he first travelled to the Netherlands for a sabbatical period to work in the area of mammalian growth simulation modelling.

 “Wageningen University is as much my University as Massey is and it is my great pleasure to be part of the WUR family. Our collaboration is strong and any efforts I have put in were returned several fold over the years. Collaboration is the glue that holds our relationship together. This will become even more important as agriculture and food become the defining areas of research over the next few years”, Prof Moughan said.

Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh says it is significant that Prof Moughan is the only honouree outside the university to receive the Wageningen Silver Medal since international recipient Kofi Annan, Secretary-General United Nations in 2008.

 “It is a testament to Professor Moughan’s outstanding scientific contributions and collaborations with the University of Wageningen that he has been honoured by the President of Wageningen UR in this way. The Riddet Institute and Massey University are very proud to continue such a long standing and meaningful connection between New Zealand and the Netherlands – that produces outstanding scientific progress, as well as the creating the next generation of scientists in Food and Agriculture.” Prof Singh said. 

Prof. Moughan has set up a number of joint research programmes with WUR. The Proteos project on protein evaluation of human foods is the latest joint programme where Prof Moughan has actively involved animal and human nutrition groups. This project is part of the first Memorandum of Understanding signed between Massey and Wageningen University in 2013 and has largely been established as a result of the efforts of Prof Moughan. The Proteos project aims to develop an international database of the protein quality of human foods.