Student: Catherine Sharp
Company: Food Dudes Health Ltd (SR)
Academic Supervisor: Dr Pauline Horne & Dr Mihela Erjavec
Tracey Anthony from Food Dudes:
We got involved with KESS because we think it’s important to develop academic talent and help graduates learn about the process of bringing academic ideas to market. Academia is particularly important to us, because Food Dudes grew out of the School of Psychology at Bangor University under the leadership of the late Professor Fergus Lowe and Professor Pauline Horne. Although the programme itself had been in development for 20 years, it wasn’t until 2010-11 that Food Dudes started to become of particular interest to Public Health professionals around the UK, no doubt because of the public and media pressure to do something about the problem of obese children.
Since we span out the business in 2011/21, Food Dudes has become possibly one of the fastest growing social enterprises in the UK. That said, any support we can find for the project is warmly welcomed – hence our interest in KESS.
“Our partnership with KESS shows clients that we’re committed to developing the next generation of behavioural research talent. This increases their confidence in our business, but also encourages them to invest in us themselves.”
KESS plays a role in financially supporting a student whose work focuses on the research and development side of our business. I think there should be more of these kinds of scholarships and collaborative arrangements – not only does such an arrangement give us access to funding, but it is also provides a unique selling point for our clients. Our partnership with KESS shows clients that we’re committed to developing the next generation of behavioural research talent. This increases their confidence in our business, but also encourages them to invest in us themselves.
It’s really important for businesses to understand the benefits of working with universities like Bangor. The combination of our distinctive spheres of expertise always results in good things for both parties.
For me, the secret of running a successful KESS project is good planning. I think it is really important to have a good idea of what the project is that you want to deliver, and to understand how it will fit with the student, the school and with us as a company. Also, there’s no point just going in with what you think is a good idea in the abstract: you have to have something for which there is a customer demand, or for which you can create a demand.
All our KESS students have been great. They have all relished the opportunity to get to grips with something that is not just a theoretical project, but a real world applied project that is going to deliver results and have an impact for the greater good of society. For us as a company, one of the key memories of our KESS experience will be the positive attitude of the students. For me personally, one of the most satisfying things about the whole programme is seeing them go on to secure a position within the company, or move on to working on a PhD.