From here, from now, to net zero through agrifood.

Together, we’re creating plausible pathways, and practical, open science, to achieve net zero through the agrifood system by 2050.


The agri-food system produces 23% of UK emissions and therefore must play a key role in the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050. The radical scale of the net zero challenge requires a bold and ambitious approach to research and innovation. AFN Network+ is a community of research leaders and stakeholders with expertise in the UK food system. Our mission is to shape the next decade of research to support and drive the agri-food system’s progress towards net zero, while also benefiting livelihoods, biodiversity and ecosystems. We are doing this by working together to pool knowledge, identify research gaps, and form multidisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations. ​Our reach, like our expertise and coverage, is broad and deep. Currently, we have more than 60 project partners and 430 members in our ‘Community of Practice’. Stakeholders extend across government departments, devolved administrations and their agencies, NGOs, innovation bodies, the agri-food industry, and farming and fishery groups across the UK.

Aims & Objectives

Our four aims:

  1. Ground, connect and motivate researchers by forging strong connections with stakeholders.
  2. Create a shared agenda of research needs, building on these connections.
  3. Catalyse and fund new projects that leap-frog towards this vision, synthesising expertise.
  4. Build legacy and influence beyond the Network from networking, funding and dissemination.

Our four objectives:

  1. Create a Community of Practice of thousands of people, that strengthens existing relationships and catalyses new relationships with agri-food stakeholders, including innovators and practitioners from farming, agri-tech developers, retailers, manufacturers, consumer and citizen bodies.
  2. Produce a Context-Dependent Roadmap: The Network will enable academics and stakeholders to co-create a shared understanding of (i) the range of global contexts the UK agri-food system may face over the coming decades, (ii) plausible pathways for a range of scenarios to reach net zero through a sustainable UK agri-food system and (iii) a prioritised set of critical research questions that need to be tackled to maximise progress along the pathways.
  3. Seed fund the Next Decade of Research: We will kick-start cross-discipline/cross-sector projects, by running facilitated scoping-study competitions and supporting projects to maximise their impact and future funding.
  4. Shape the Next Decade: We will build on existing networks to leverage work already done with stakeholders and amplify the Network’s impact and to inform future research prioritisation, playing a pivotal, strategic role in targeting agri-food science investment to achieve net zero.

Related links

AFN Network+ logo

AFN Network+

Professor Sarah Bridle, Dept of Environment and Geography

Jonathan Haslem, Dept of Environment and Geography

Molly Watson, Dept of Environment and Geography


Professor Sarah Bridle, Chair in Food, Climate and Society, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Professor Neil Ward, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Professor Tim Benton, Chatham House and the University of Leeds

Dr Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Associate professor of Food Systems, University of West of England

Professor Stefan Kepinski, University of Leeds


Dimitris Charalampopoulos Professor of Food Biotechnology, University of Reading

Lynn Frewer Professor of Food & Society, University of Newcastle,

Tom MacMillan Elizabeth Creak Chair in Rural Policy and Strategy , Royal Agricultural University.

Simon Pearson Professor of Agri-Food Technology, University of Lincoln

Pete Smith FRS, FRSE Professor of Soils & Global Change, University of Aberdeen

Christine Watson Professor of Agricultural Systems, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC),


University of Leeds

University of the West of England Bristol

University of East Anglia

Chatham House

Related links

AFN Network+ logo

AFN Network+