Published on 22 June 2018
As millions prepare to cheer on England this Sunday, one man’s World Cup loyalties may well be put to the test.
England fan and University of Sunderland academic Dr Derek Watson has just found himself appointed at the first European ‘Visiting Professor’ to the Technological University of…….Panama.
While it is a great honour, it does present Dr Watson with a bit of a dilemma this weekend as England take on the Central American country in the latest group stage of Russia 2018.
Dr Watson, a senior lecturer, admits he’ll be watching the match and cheering on his home nation, but confesses there may be a few calls of encouragement for their Panamanian rivals in his household.
The lecturer came into contact with the Technological University of Panama during his time in the country helping growing restaurant chain SUVLAS break into the North American market by applying his innovative food safety cultural compliance model.
Dr Watson has been investigating how food industry manufacturers can develop a positive food safety culture by adopting the industry-based model ‘totrain enlighten’; which puts their own business practices under the microscope and lays the foundations to run them more effectively and efficiently.
After spending a week introducing ‘enlighten’ to the 80 staff, management team and directors, bosses at the multi-million pound company were impressed with the immediate changes they saw.
Dr Watson was then invited to the Technological University of Panama to give a key-note speech on his research work at Sunderland.
He explained: “I very much look forward to working with my fellow Panamanian academics on food culture and more specifically embedding and testing the 'totrain enlighten model' with food manufactures in both Central and South America.
“To demonstrate our collaborative commitment we have already presented a joint paper on food culture in New York and currently finalising a journal paper on the 'Suvlas enlighten experience’.”
He added: “The only thing we cannot agree on is who will win Sunday’s football match.”
Gareth Southgate's side got off to a strong start with a late 2-1 win over Tunisia, thanks to Harry Kane's double. Now it's on to Panama this Sunday, before their final group game against Belgium.
Professor Aris Castillo, Director of International Affairs at the Technological University of Panama, says she’s delighted by Dr Watson’s appointment - despite any footballing rivalry.
She said: “We are delighted to receive Dr Watson again at our campus as a Visiting Professor and to develop research projects together in the area of food safety, which is a topic getting a lot of attention lately in Panama.”
The totrain enlighten model enables food manufactures to measure its food safety cultural compliance, which is in line with anticipated requirements by the British Retail Consortium’s Global Quality Standards.
Dr Watson is no stranger to international partnership working, having been selected to be part of a global team working with a new Centre for Business Research in Cyprus. He is the first Senior Research Fellow at the new centre, set up by the Cyprus Institute of Marketing Cyprus Business School, the island’s top business school. The Centre’s primary aim is to facilitate, generate, and promote business research in Cyprus and abroad, establishing itself as a world leader in research and actively sourcing experts globally.