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Global Food Security (GFS) develops new funding programme

The Global Food Security (GFS) Programme has agreed a new 5-year interdisciplinary programme of research to tackle resilience of the food system. The programme has been co-designed by BBSRC, ESRC, NERC, Defra and FSA, in partnership with wider stakeholders, and will address a major food security challenge: ‘Resilience of the UK food system in a global context’.

BBSRC, NERC & ESRC are contributing £14M and further contributions are being considered by other GFS partners. Up to £7M will be available for the first call and researchers will be able to apply for funding later this year. A community building event will be held in London on 20 July 2015 (more information to follow) to give researchers an opportunity to learn more about the call, meet colleagues from other disciplines and initiate partnerships in advance of the call launch in September.

Tim Benton, GFS Champion, said: “Resilience of the food system – from production to consumption – is an increasingly recognised challenge given competition for resources, climate change and increasing demand.  However, we need better understanding of how to make the food system resilient.  This new GFS programme will help provide that fundamental knowledge and translate this into policy and practice”

Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “Sustainably supplying enough food for a growing population is a complex problem. Issues like climate change, supply chains, food choices and productivity all need consideration.  This research programme will help us to unpick these complexities by supporting interdisciplinary projects to look at the challenge from all angles.”

Duncan Wingham, NERC Chief Executive, said: “Finding sustainable and affordable ways of feeding the world’s growing population is a critical challenge facing our species. This programme can build on the UK’s leading role in this area. It is a strong example of how funding bodies can bring researchers of different disciplines together to tackle a complex problem.”

Adrian Alsop, ESRC Director, said: ‘‘ESRC is excited to be a core funder in this new interdisciplinary programme of research co-ordinated through GFS. The research agenda will serve to complement ESRC’s programme of research into the energy-environment-food nexus through building a better appreciation and understanding of the interconnected challenges surrounding the supply and demand for food.’’

Ian Boyd, Defra Chief Scientific Adviser, said: ‘‘Resilience of our food system is an important but complex problem. We are delighted to be working with others to solve this problem so that vulnerabilities can be identified and then dealt with effectively.’’

Guy Poppy, FSA Chief Scientific Adviser, said: I welcome this new initiative and strongly support the interdisciplinary approach to the complex issues and the commitment to deliver tangible outputs. We see real potential for proposals to influence the evidence base in the ‘’best food future possible’’ consumer rights area, identified in FSA’s new Strategy. We look forward to working with the other funders to deliver a programme of work with impact.”

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Story source: BBSRC news release, 29 May 2015

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