University of York logo
University of York logo

What is IKnowFood?

A brand new 3.3 million pound, four year project will be starting in October 2016. Led by the York Management School’s (TYMS) Professor Bob Doherty with collaborators from across the University of York and the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester.

The research application was supported by a range of industry partners that include;  fair trade pioneer Cafedirect, multiple supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), Soil Association, IAgrE, Luc Hoffmann Institute (WWF), NFU (National Farmers Union), and CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International).

IKnowFood are looking to recruit a team of post-doctoral research assistants, a programme manager and data analyst to support the current academic team.

About the project

Systems of food production, trade and consumption are increasingly vulnerable to interconnected political, economic and ecological shocks associated with climate, environmental and ecosystem changes, shifts in farming practices and consumer lifestyles, and globalisation.

In this project, we use the concept of resilience to investigate the sources of these vulnerabilities and to produce datasets, information resources, engagement approaches and business tools that will assist stakeholders in developing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In the ‘IknowFood’ 4-year programme we explore resilience on farm; in the supply chain; and among consumers, in order to:

  1. deepen understanding of the food system and how stakeholders differ in their ability to respond to crises and stresses within global food supply chains;
  2. investigate how structures, institutions and information can support individuals, communities and organisations to think and act in response to different types of change that emerge within the complexity of the global food system;
  3. explore how new forms of data, mobile technologies, institutional models and incentive frameworks can shape information flows and behaviour, enabling researchers, technologists and food system stakeholders to resolve and respond in a timely fashion to pressures facing food consumption, production and trade; and
  4. Provide a new model of food system resilience that sets an agenda for future interdisciplinary research and defines policy objectives for a resilient UK food system.

Collaborators and funding

Funded through the Global Food Security’s "Resilience of the UK Food System Programme", with support from BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and Scottish Government. The project is supported by the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) and the N8 Agrifood Programme.

Professor Bruce Grieve and Dr Krikor Ozanyan from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester are collaborating along with Professor Jason Halford of the Institute of Psychology Health and Society at the University of Liverpool.

Manchester University logo
Liverpool University logo



Dr Chris West

Dr Chris West (PhD Biology) has a multidisciplinary background encompassing environmental science, ecology, and mathematics, and leads the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) group at SEI York. Chris has a rich understanding of international supply chain complexity and governance issues, having led a programme to develop a method for linking UK imports to overseas environmental (water, land and biodiversity) impacts for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This project led to the creation of SEI’s Input-Output and Trade Analysis (IOTA) model which is currently being used to develop indicators for sustainable development, biodiversity, and Green Economy targets, linked to international food commodity consumption. The IOTA model will underpin the supply chain and trade analysis research conducted within WP2 of the IKnowFood project.

  • Leads SEI’s contribution to the "NETpositive Initiative"
  • Manages and leads SEI’s contribution to the "Measure What Matters" project
  • Co-authored a number of reports for government, public sector and NGO clients related to policy development for sustainable consumption and production, resource efficiency, and environmental footprinting issues

    Find out more information on Chris and his work.

Professor Tony Heron

Professor Tony Heron is Chair of International Politics and Deputy Head of the Department of Politics. Tony taught at the University of Sheffield between 2002 and 2012 and was previously a research fellow at the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), University of the West Indies, Jamaica. He has also held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, University of the South Pacific, Fiji; and University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

    He has worked across a range of areas including:

  • co-editing the journal New Political Economy
  • being a member of the ESRC peer review college
  • acting as an external examiner at the University of Lancaster and Manchester
  • the former role of co-director of the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC)

He is currently co-investigator on the BBSRC ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’ project. Working alongside Professor Bob Doherty and Dr Chris West, Tony’s role in this project is to investigate the ways in which different forms of governance, regulation and decision-making – both public and private and operating at different spatial levels – influence the UK’s food system and the promotion of security, resilience and sustainability.

Find out more information on Tony and his work.

Professor Helen Petrie

Professor Helen Petrie is Chair of Human Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science and Head of the Human Computer Interaction Research Group. Her research interests focus around four areas: interactive technologies for older users and for users with disabilities; interactive technologies for health and well-being; methods for researching human computer interaction; and cross-cultural aspects of human computer interaction.

Her interest in interactive technologies to support older and disabled users started when she worked as a Research Psychologist for the Royal National Institute for Blind People, helping to develop the first screenreading program for blind people to work with a graphical user interface. Since then she has participated in many multidisciplinary, multi-national projects about technology for older and disabled users, has published extensively and advised government and industry on this topic. She conducted a Formal Investigation into web accessibility for the Disability Rights Commission and in 2009 the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) honoured her with an award for the social impact of her work.

Professor Bob Doherty

Professor Bob Doherty is Chair of Marketing and Acting Dean at The York Management School, University of York. He specialises his research on the marketing and management aspects of social enterprises and fair trade organisations and is particularly interested in how these types of hybrid organisations can contribute to food resilience.

  • Research leader on Food at the York Environmental Sustainability
  • Editor in chief (9 years) of the Social Enterprise Journal
  • Published on social enterprise and fair trade:

  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • International Journal of Management Reviews
  • Business History Journal
  • Journal of Strategic Marketing
  • He is also the author of the first text book on social enterprise management "Management for Social Enterprise".

He is currently Principal Investigator on the BBSRC ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’ project funded by the Global Food Security-Food System Resilience programme. He has a current British Council Newton Fund grant to develop research links with Thammasat University in Bangkok for inclusive economic growth studying hybrid organisations.

Find out more information on Bob and his work.

Dr Paul Christiansen

Dr Paul Christiansen is a lecturer in the department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. He specialises in researching automatic, controlled, and social processes that underlie appetitive decision making. He is particularly interested in unconscious processes that drive unhealthy eating and heavy drinking. He is currently holding grants exploring the effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on weight loss and weight regain, using imaging to investigate brain activity when confronted with branded foods, and analysing the acute effects of alcohol on health-related behaviours.

    He has published research on appetite and addiction in journals such as:

  • Health Psychology
  • Obesity
  • Appetite
  • International Journal of Obesity and Addiction

Paul lecturers in statistics at the University of Liverpool, works as a statistician on a variety of projects, and is statistics editor of Substance Use and Misuse. Currently, in his capacity as statistician, he has grants from the Home Office and the FBI analysing data on child protection and terrorist interviews respectively.

Paul is working on work package three on the BBSRC ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’ project. He will be exploring the explicit and implicit processes that underlie decision making in specific social groups, and demonstrate the extent to which modifying social norms and marketing imagery influences behaviour and consumer practice.

Find out more about Paul and his work.

Photo of Jon Ensor

Dr Jonathan Ensor

Dr Jonathan Ensor is a Senior Researcher in Sustainable Development at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York. He is a researcher and practitioner with interests in participatory development and equitable environmental governance.

As a development practitioner (with the NGO Practical Action, up to 2012) his work centred on research for program and policy influencing in relation to community-based climate change adaptation (on which he has published a series of three books), and food and agriculture. Recently, his work has explored the potential of participatory planning and social learning processes as a means of accounting for power and social justice in resilience thinking and adaptive governance.

Jonathan is a co-investigator on the BBSRC ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’ project, leading work on the design and analysis of multi-stakeholder processes that bring scientists together with farmers from across the north of England.

Working alongside colleagues from York and the e-Agri Sensors Centre at the University of Manchester, this work will support the identification of new methods for the co-development of technologies and practices across farm systems that:

  1. enable the balancing of productivity, sustainability and environmental benefits at the farm scale;
  2. build on existing farmer knowledge, enabling them to better identify and manage these trade-offs;
  3. support a shift in scientists’ and engineers’ perspectives of the demands of technologies for sustainability.

Find out more about Jonathan's work.

The University of York

Founded on principles of excellence, equality and opportunity for all, the University of York opened in 1963 with just 230 students. In 2016 it is the centre for almost 16,000 students across more than 30 academic departments and research centres. In over 50 years we have become one of the world's leading universities and a member of the prestigious Russell Group.

The University has consistently been recognised as one of the leading Higher Education Institutes and is one of just six post-war universities which appear in the world top 100 (2013-14) and 15th in the Times & Sunday Times league table (2016). The University of York has won six Times Higher Education (THE) Awards and five Queen’s Anniversary Prizes.

We are proud of our association with Athena SWAN, holding ten awards in support of women in science, with gold awards for Chemistry and Biology as well as a University-wide bronze award.

Of 154 universities that took part in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, The University of York ranked 14th overall and 10th on the impact of our research. The University is consistently in the top ten UK research universities and attracts over £60m a year of funding from research alone.

Centred around the picturesque village of Heslington on the edge of the city of York, our colleges are set in an attractive landscaped campus. With a compact and easy to get around design, York enjoys a safe, friendly atmosphere. The campus offers a wealth of facilities, which includes bars, shops, theatres and concert halls all within easy walking distance.

Find out more about the University of York

Currently recruiting

There are no vacancies open at the moment.


York and Yorkshire

The City of York

Internationally acclaimed for its rich heritage and historic architecture, York's bustling streets are filled with visitors from all over the world. Within its medieval walls you will find the iconic gothic Minster, Clifford’s Tower and the Shambles - just a few of the many attractions.

But York isn't just a great place to visit - it's also a great place to live and work. While nourishing a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere, York still maintains the friendly sense of community unique to a small city.

Shopping, culture and entertainment

York boasts specialist and unique boutiques but also all the high street stores on its busy shopping streets. Alongside them you will find cinemas, theatres, an opera house, art galleries, a vast range of restaurants, live music venues and clubs. York is particularly renowned for its multitude of pubs and bars, from the modern to the medieval.


The Lonely Planet guide recently declared Yorkshire the third best region in the world to visit. There is something to cater to every taste, whether it be the rugged landscapes of the Moors or the Dales, the picturesque seaside towns of Scarborough and Robin Hoods Bay, the gothic architecture of Whitby or the vibrancy of cosmopolitan Leeds.

For more information head to

Do you have a query?

Candidates are invited to email for confidential informal inquiries:

Follow us