Intelligent food designThe way we consume food is changing with advances in modern technology, food availability, the changing home environment, increased travel and exposure to new cultures. We are seeing an increased interest from the general public to improve their health and well-being through changes in their diets without compromising on taste, quality, food safety or cost. Within this changing environment, we are facing complex issues; food manufacturers need to come up with nutritious and healthy food that is tasty and innovative while regulators need to ensure that new food designs and behaviours are safe.

The vision of the Intelligent Food Design, Engineering and Monitoring research programme is to deliver solutions to these issues by combining molecular, medicine, engineering, business and economic approaches. Physicists, Chemists and Engineers are trying to better understand the microstructure of food to create a better understanding of how food is digested and to model future work so that nutritional composition can be improved or to enhance flavour, texture and mouth feel. Design engineering research is utilising the latest developments in science, technology, business, economics, policy and society to create and design new food and packaging solutions that can encourage and promote healthier eating behaviours, improving the health and wellbeing of the nation. Smart monitoring devices and personalised nutrition will be available in the not so distant future which may give a better understanding of the body’s response to food and allow for the use of truly personalised nutrition.

Guided by Imperial’s principles of collaboration and research excellence we will harness expertise across different disciplines within the College and seek for real-life challenges through collaboration with industry and policy makers. Our ultimate goal is to include “Imperial designed food” in the urban dictionary as a synonym of healthy and innovative food solutions. We aim to deliver a positive impact to society by delivering innovative food solutions that promote healthier nutrition while enhancing the food experience.

Key Imperial infrastructureInstitute of Chemical BiologySynthetic Biology HubMRC-NIHR BRC National Phenome CentreSoft solidsTribology groupEngineering designBody Sensor NetworkWearable technologies labBrain and behaviour lab

Theme leads

Professor Peter Childs

Professor Peter Childs is Head of the Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Professorial Lead in Engineering Design at Imperial College London. His general interests include: creativity; the application of creativity tools; mechanical and product design; robotics; rotating flow, temperature and its measurement, sustainable energy component, concept and system design. He has contributed to over 160 refereed papers since completion of his doctorate in 1991, several books including the handbook of mechanical design engineering and monographs on temperature measurement and rotating flow. He is a director at Q-Bot Ltd and several start-ups and SMEs.

Professor Peter Childs

Dr Maria Charalambides

Dr Maria Charalambides is a Reader in Mechanics of Materials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London. Her published research includes material modelling and mechanical characterisation of soft polymeric solids and specifically foods, micromechanics models of particulate filled polymeric composites as well as cellular structures, experimental and numerical modelling of industrial food processes such as rolling, extrusion and cutting, development of inverse indentation methods material characterisation of polymers, and fracture and deformation in paint and adhesive coatings.

Dr Maria Charalambides

Dyson School of Design Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Department of Chemical Engineering

Department of Bioengineering

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Department of Earth Science and Engineering

Department of Physics

Hamlyn Centre