YESI Research Theme Leaders to headline international forum

News | Posted on Thursday 11 July 2019

It has been confirmed that Professors Bob Doherty and Alistair Boxall will be keynote speakers at the Integrative Urbanisation, Water and Food Security Gordon Research Conference held at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology later this month.

By 2050 it is predicted that the global population will reach over 9 billion of which 70% are expected to live in urban areas predominantly on the coast. Such high population densities lead to increased demand for food, water, energy and other resources such as chemicals which become concentrated in these areas and can have environmental and health implications.

Unfortunately, environmental quality implications of water security and food safety are not routinely examined, particularly within the context of global climate change and urban stressors. For example, changes in physical conditions of the coastal waters could in turn modify ecosystem services, reduce food production or alter the nutritional value of aquaculture products.

This conference will provide a transdisciplinary forum for environmental and agricultural biologists, chemists, engineers and health scientists to develop understanding and management strategies to promote integrative water and food security associated with urbanisation.

As experts in the field, both Alistair and Bob have been invited to speak on the first night of the conference. Alistair, YESI’s Urban Living Research Theme Leader, will discuss his recent research into pharmaceutical contamination of the world’s cities which has received a lot of media attention over the last few months. Whilst Bob, YESI’s Sustainable Food Research Theme Leader, will discuss food systems resilience in a global context, drawing on his work through the IKnowFood project.

Both of the University of York researchers are delighted to be speaking at this prestigious event. Alistair says ‘it is clear a transdisciplinary approach is needed to address urban water-food security challenges. The conference will provide an ideal opportunity to explore global research and develop new networks.’ Bob also recognises that ‘Hong Kong is the perfect venue given its convenient location to the 22 megacities that will emerge in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030.'