As the global population grows, ensuring everyone has access to enough nutritious, safe food is increasingly challenging.

Natural resources are being consumed at unprecedented rates, water supplies are unpredictable, and increasing affluence has encouraged production of resource-intensive foods such as meat and dairy.

We work with industry, government and academic communities to move towards guaranteeing food security. Natural and social scientists are collaborating with industry and government to develop sustainable solutions to improving food security.

Turning agricultural waste into biofuels

Researchers from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products have discovered an enzyme which could be harnessed to turn rice farming waste and other crop by-products into liquid fuel. The enzyme comes from the gut of a wood-boring sea creature called "gribble", which historically attacked the timber hulls of seafarers’ ships, and continues to damage wooden piers and docks in coastal communities.

Read our case study to find out more.

Featured researcher
Simon McQueen-Mason

Simon McQueen-Mason

Director of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP)

Professor McQueen-Mason's research into plant cell wall biology is advancing the development of second generation liquid biofuels from plant biomass.

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Featured researcher
Neil Bruce

Neil Bruce

Professor Bruce's research interests are in microbial metabolism, biocatalysis and environmental biotechnology.

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Understanding food system resilience

IKnowFood is a four year project funded by the Global Food Security Programme which explores food resilience on farms, in supply chains and among consumers. Using an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder approach, the project is developing a unifying understanding of food system resilience by integrating the knowledge and perspectives of people who are affected by the food system and have influence on it.

Find out more on the IKnowFood website.

Featured researcher
Bob Doherty

Bob Doherty

Professor Doherty is Professor of Marketing at The York Management School and principal investigator on the IKnowFood project.

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Waste processing in refugee camps

Researchers in the Stockholm Environment Institute at York and from several of the University’s academic departments have been working in a Palestinian refugee camp to explore the management of household food waste.

Richard Friend (Environment and Geography) and Kelley Redeker (Biology) visited the camp to understand the camp’s waste flows  where and how waste is disposed  and waste management needs. The group is examining how informality and uncertainty in the camp affects waste processing systems.

Globally, this is an under-researched topic. The researchers aim to expand the project’s scope to include other refugee camps in different countries.

Featured researcher
Sarah West

Sarah West

Dr West is Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute at York. Her expertise is in citizen science and she leads York's research into refugee camp waste.

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Measuring the effectiveness of environmental policy

The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) is a national research hub developing innovative ways to measure the effectiveness of policies on energy, water, environment, and food (the ‘nexus’). By identifying where complexity presents a challenge to policy interventions, the Centre contributes to more effective policy making.

Visit the CECAN website.

Featured researcher
Sue Hartley

Sue Hartley

Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute

Sue Hartley is Professor of Ecology in the Department of Biology.

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Further information 

For more information about environmental sustainability and resilience research at York, see our brochure: Environmental sustainability and resilience research at York: overview (PDF , 118kb).