SABMiller is sponsoring a new chair of brewing science at The University of Nottingham.

The brewer said today (28 June) that it would pay an initial grant of GBP167,000 (US$304,000) for the post. The first brewing scientist to take up the position will be Professor Katherine Smart (pictured), one of the country's leading experts in yeast and fermentation process.

The university will also start to offer a postgraduate MSc in Brewing Science, which will look at the effect of climate change on barley used for brewing, how best to design breweries and how to harness the natural properties of yeast during fermentation.

"The University of Nottingham is a leader in the field of brewing science and SABMiller is delighted to be supporting Katherine and the new MSc programme," said Graham Mackay, SABMiller's chief executive. "We are always looking at ways of enhancing techniques and technologies to enhance our product quality while, as part of our sustainable development approach, improving the environment in which we operate."

"Brewing science is critical to the brewing industry which has a long standing reputation as the driving force behind new technologies that have been used by so many other industries," Professor Smart added. "Brewing fermentations in particular could provide valuable insights into how we might effectively generate replacements to fossil fuels, most directly the development of environmentally-friendly bioethanol.

"If just 5% of the fuel in the petrol tanks of cars in the UK was composed of bioethanol, it would be the equivalent of taking 1m cars off the road network in terms of reduced pollution."