The agrifood industry is facing growing pressure to produce more food, in a more sustainable way, at a time of significant environmental and regulatory change.
Working with key stakeholders in the agrifood industry, we support interdisciplinary research to design new solutions to improve food security for everyone.
Research in this area aligns to the UN's goal of improving farming practice to ensure security around access to food, as well as the UK Government's focus on food security and the protection of agriculture through the Global Challenges Research Fund.
Research theme aims
- Developing global research into food systems resilience and sustainability
- Designing integrated solutions to deliver improved food security across the food system
Key focus areas
- Sustainable food production – developing resilient crop varieties and low-cost agricultural technologies. Influencing governance, investment patterns, regulation and food policy.
- Supply chain resilience – working with stakeholders in food production and distribution to develop models to identify pressure points. Designing solutions to improve food security.
- Food and the consumer – evaluating food purchasing behaviour and its effect on health and waste production. Exploring food waste reduction or reuse methods and influencing behaviour.
The IKnowFood project takes an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder approach to developing a unifying understanding of ‘food system resilience’ using tools and methods to integrate the knowledge of food system actors.
During this project a tweet-mining framework was developed to provide a crisis management tool for academia and practitioners to better understand the changes in consumer opinions.
Resilient food systems
This project examines the rapidly changing food systems in Northern Thailand, looking at the interlinkages and feedback loops between different components across scales, to identify pathways to transformations that are socially and environmentally resilient and just.
Patterns of consumption
This two-year programme investigates the mobilisation and practice of sustainable consumption in the Global South through an examination of systems of food provision and regulation, everyday consumer habits, and trends and fashions in food consumption.
Land management practices
This study consisted of a series of experiments in which we tested a variety of earthworm – bacteria – plant – soil present / absent combinations to allow us to suggest changes in land management practises to maximise the natural boost that earthworms give to plant growth.
Our researchers are developing commercial varieties of rice carrying different segments of DNA from wild ancestors, and are testing how they perform in real agricultural conditions in the field in India to identify the most drought resistant varieties.
The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) is a hub developing new ways to measure the effectiveness of domestic policies on energy, water, environment and food (the ‘nexus’), and how they affect wider society.