Long-serving dairy scientist Harjinder Singh gains international recognition - Stuff

Written by George Heagney

After 30 years of research in the dairy industry, a distinguished service award was well deserved for Harjinde Singh.

The Massey University distinguished professor has won a lot of awards for his work, but last month became the first New Zealander to win the American Dairy Science Association distinguished service award at Knoxville in the United States.

The gong, which Singh joked was a lifetime achievement award, was for outstanding contribution to dairy science and work improving the industry. 

Singh, 60, is a food scientist and major figure in the development of dairy science research, having started working at Massey in 1989.

He is now the director of the Riddet Institute at Massey, a national centre of research excellence in food science.

He said his 30 years at Massey had been about developing strong capability in dairy science. He said he had done a lot of fundamental research, but also focused on creating new opportunities.

"Higher quality and more consistent dairy products – the knowledge allows you to add value to the creation of new products."

He said Riddet had a reputation as one of the top food science centres in the world.

The next thing for Singh is to take Riddet Institute to the next level.

"It's going very well and progressing very fast, but we have to be innovative to try to improve to keep up with the trends in food science."

New foods are a hot topic.

"We need to capture more opportunities, rather than be threatened. I think dairy needs to become more innovative and start offering more trendy options for consumers."

In his long tenure, he's had about 30 PhD students and 25 post-doctorate students, many of whom are now working in the dairy industry.

He wanted to acknowledge the help of the dairy industry and his students in his time.