Rowett Research Institute

Exterior of the new building on the Foresterhill Health Campus

The Reid Library at the old Bucksburn site

The Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health is a research centre for studies into food and nutrition, located in Aberdeen, Scotland.


  • 1 History
  • 2 Notable alumni
  • 3 Notable Staff
  • 4 External links


The institute was founded in 1913 when the University of Aberdeen and the North of Scotland College of Agriculture agreed that an “Institute for Research into Animal Nutrition” should be established in Scotland. The first director was John Boyd Orr, later to become Lord Boyd Orr, who moved from Glasgow to “the wilds of Aberdeenshire” in 1914. Orr drew up some plans for a nutrition research institute. Orr also donated £5000 for the building of a granite laboratory building at Craibstone, not far from the Bucksburn site of the Rowett.

At the breakout of the Great War, Orr left the Institute, but returned in 1919 with a staff of four to begin work in the new laboratory. Orr continued to push for a new research institute and finally the Government agreed to pay half the costs but stipulated that the other half was to be found from other sources. The extra money was donated by Dr John Quiller Rowett, a businessman and director of a wine and spirits merchants in London.

Rowett’s donation allowed the purchase of 41 acres of land for the Institute to be built on. Rowett also contributed £10,000 towards the cost of the buildings. The money was donated with one very important stipulation from Rowett — “if any work done at the Institute on animal nutrition were found to have a bearing on human nutrition, the Institute would be allowed to follow up this work.” The Institute was formally opened in 1922 by Queen Mary.

On 1 July 2008 the Institute merged with the University of Aberdeen to become the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, College of Life Sciences and Medicine.

In March 2016 the Rowett Institute relocated to a purpose-built building at the University’s Medical School campus at Foresterhill, Aberdeen.

Notable alumni

  • Ainsley Iggo, known for demonstrating electrical recording from individual C fibres in the human body. President of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) (1981-84).
  • Peter Joseph Heald, known for his research on reproductive biochemistry.
  • Winifred Margaret Dean, prolific translator of German scientific texts into English.

Strathcona House

Notable Staff

  • A. T. Phillipson Head of Physiology 1947 to 1963 and Depute Director from 1952.
  • John Boyd Orr, Director from 1914-1945, recipient of A Nobel Peace Prize for his research into nutrition and work as first Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • Árpád Pusztai, researcher at the Institute from 1963 to 1999, noted expert in plant pectins and known for starting the Pusztai Affair.
  • Asim K. Duttaroy, Professor at the Institute from 1990 to 2001, currently Professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Oslo.
  • Richard Laurence Millington Synge, researcher at the Institute from 1948 to 1967, recipient of a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention of partition chromatography.
  • Kenneth Blaxter, Director from 1965 until 1982.
  • Joseph Fairweather Lamb, Director from 1998-2003.

External links

  • Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health
  • Celebrating 100 years of the Rowett

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