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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Welcome to the Coffee Break Seminars, a relaxed online learning, networking, and discussion platform for our food security community.

Seminars take place every Friday during term time at 2 pm, BST. Please find the list of forthcoming Coffee Breaks below. Previous talks, with links to recordings where available, are listed below. To sign up to receive reminder e-mails with the link and our newsletter, please e-mail us.

Please find the Coffee Break Seminar zoom link here.

If you would like to present your work at a Coffee Break Seminar, please contact our Programme Manager Francesca Re Manning. If you'd like to know more about what's involved, please read our Guidelines for presenters.


Coffee Break Seminars Michaelmas Term 2023

20 January 2022 Yunhu Gao (Faulty of Engineering) How to Feed the Global Population with Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Nitrogen Fertisiliers? 

27 January 2022 Dr Joeva Rock (Centre of Development Studies) We are not starving: the struggle for food sovereignity in Ghana 

3 February 2022 Renata Retkute (Department of Plant Sciences) Forecasting risks from invasive psests like locusts affecting staple food crops in Sub-Sarahan Africa

10February 2022 Dr Charlotte Kukowski (Department of Psychology) Leveraging the power of decision contexts to reduce meat consumption

24 February 2022 Dr Kelly Parson (MRC Epidemiology) How do policies influence food systems? 

Previous seminars:


25 November 2022 Dr Charles Read  (Faculty of History and Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge)    The Irish famine and the financial crises of 1847 and 2022: lessons from history for modern-day policymakers Please find the event recording here.

18 November 2022 Iris Berger (Dept of Zoology, University of Cambridge) Agricultural strategies for optimal balance between eco-systems and biodiversity protection in India   Please find the slide deck here and the event recording here.

11 November 2022 Thomas Idris Marquand (Environmental Chemistry, University of Cambridge) The East Anglia Fens: Crop Productivity and Climate Vulnerability Please find the slide deck here and the event recording here.

4 November 2022 Baptiste Albertone (Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge)  Sustainable Development in the Periphery: A structuralist prospective Please find the recording here.

21 October 2022 Dr Michael Pashkevich (Dept of Zoology, University of Cambridge) Oil Palm: from Indonesia to Liberia Please find the recording here and the slide deck here.

7 October 2022 Joao Joaquim (History & Philosophy of Sciences, University of Cambridge) Agricultural Virology in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain: the search for virus-free potato stock  Please find the recording here and the slide deck here.

30 September 2022 Dr David Godding (Dept of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge) Developing a predictive model for an emerging epidemic on cassava in sub-Saharan Africa. Please find the recording here.

23 September 2022 Dr Carol Ibe (JR Biotek FoundationDemocratising plant bio-technologies to address food security challenges in sub-Saharan Africa 

24 June 2022.  Min-Yao Jhu (Crop Science Centre, University of Cambridge/NIAB) "Sustainable Crop Nutrition: a reality?" Please find the recording herePlease find the slide deck here.

10 June 2022 Emma Wordsworth (Faculty of History, University of Cambridge) "Learning from the past: Victorian famine relief, a global vision". Please find the slide deck here.

27 May 2022. Dr Angie Burnett (Plant Sciences) "Plants under Stress: Climate Change and Food Security"  Please find the recording of the seminar here.

20 May 2022. Dr Robert Beyer (Zoology/Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) "Turning back the clock? Relocating farmland could do that". Please find the slide deck here and the recording of the seminar here.

13 May 2022. Dr Henning Grosse Ruse-Khan (Law) "The interface between Biodiversity, Intellectual Property, and Food Security" Please find the slide deck here.

29 April 2022. Dr Daniel Borch Ibsen (MRC Epidemiology; Aarhus University) "Legumes in a sustainable healthy diet: (how) to be or not to be, that is the question" Please find the slide deck here and the recording of the seminar here.

22 April 2022. Dr Francis Wamonje (NIAB) "Can viruses help protect our crops?" Please find the seminar recording here.

25 March 2022. Dr Daniel Fuks (Archealogy) discussed: 'Archaeobotany and plant archaeogenetics: problems, prospects and potential for global food security.' 

18 March 2022. Broderick House (Zoology) discussed: 'Urban bivalves: exploring new seafood aquaculture opportunities for food security.' Please find the seminar recording here.

11 March 2022. Dr James Borrell (Kew Gardens) discussed: Ethiopia and 'the tree against hunger': Strategies for unifying wild and agrobiodiversity conservation? Please find the seminar recording here.

4 March 2022. Dr Joseph Glauber and Dr David Laborde from IFPRI discussed: "How will Russia's invasion of Ukraine affect global food security?" Please find the seminar recording here. 

25 February 2022. Dr Patricia Manzano Fisher (Program of Sustainability Science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)) discussed: 'What are the triggers to choose a sustainable lifestyle?' Please find the seminar recording here. Please find related journal articles here and here.

4 February 2022. Natasha Yelina (Crop Science Centre) discussed: 'Is Climate Change affecting fertility in our pulses?' Please find the seminar recording here.

28 January 2022. PhD student Yuru Huang (MRC Epidemiology) discussed: 'Tracking restaurant menu items in the UK: energy and nutrition trends.' Please find the seminar recording here.

21 January 2022. Grainne Hutton (Public Health) discussed: "The Heartbeat of Africa: Food, Culture, and Wellbeing". You can read about Grainne's work here. Please find the seminar recording here.  


10 December 2021. We hosted a panel talk titled 'Christmas Dinner 2050: will we be eating alternative turkey?' Please find more information and the seminar recording here. 
This event is organised with #AnnualFoodAgenda, powered by EIT Food, supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union, in association with CambPlants.

3 December 2021. Dr Matt Holmes (CRASSH) discussed: 'Selling Biotechnology: An Archival Exploration of the GM Controversy.' Please find the seminar recording here.

26 November 2021. GFS, Cambridge Zero and the Centre for Science and Policy discussed: 'How can we achieve both food security and net zero?' 

19 November 2021. Dr Silviu Petrovan (Zoology) discussed: 'Can we prevent the next zoonotic pandemic? An interdisciplinary solution scan of options.' Please find the seminar recording here.

12 November 2021. Dr Rachel Carmenta (UEA) discussed: 'Between a rock and a hard place: the burdens of uncontrolled fire for smallholders across the tropics.' Please find the seminar recording here.

05 November 2021. PhD Matthew Keeble (MRC Epidemiology) discussed: 'New' ways of buying takeaway food: what do we know about online food delivery services? Please find the seminar recording here.

22 October 2021. Dr Tom Thirkell (Crop Science Centre) discussed: 'Cereals and Soil Fungi: using symbiotic microbes for agricultural sustainability.' Please find the seminar recording here.

15 October 2021. PhD student Rijak Grover (Sociology) discussed the impact of women's rural employment on food security and nutrition in West Africa (Benin). Please find the seminar recording here.

8 October 2021. Dr Fumiya Iida (Engineering) discussed how robotics can assist agriculture and food security. Please find the seminar recording here.

24 September 2021. PhD Emily Servante (Plant Sciences) discussed harnessing the genetic potential of rice for global food security. Please find the seminar recording here.

17 September 2021. Dr Chioma Ngonadi (Archaeology) discussed how understanding our ancestors' agricultural practices can help improve food security. Please find Chioma's International Women's Day interview here. Please find the seminar recording here. 

2 July 2021. The launch of the Forgotten Crops Society, founded by researchers from the Global Food Security IRC, Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (Morocco), the Crop Trust, OCP North America, and the National Museum of Ethnology of Osaka (Japan). Please find the seminar recording here.

25 June 2021. Dr Miriam Alvarado and Hannah Ford: Whether sugar taxes are an effective way of reducing the consumption of fizzy drinks, with comparisons between Barbados and the UK. Please find the seminar recording here.

18 June 2021. Hamish Symington (Plant Sciences): How improving flowers can help us feed the world and ensure biodiversity. 

11 June 2021. Franziska Fischer (Plant Sciences): Cereal killers: who they are and how they impact our lives.  

4 June 2021. Gareth Hollands (Psychology): Reducing food energy consumption. Please find the seminar recording here.

28 May 2021. Dr Ryan Nhering (Department of History): Brazil's model to feed the world through its public research programme in agriculture. Can we talk about a Brazilian Green Revolution? Please find the seminar recording here.

21 May 2021. Dr Enrica Porcari, Chief Information Officer and Director Technology from the World Food Programme: How technology and innovation can assist to meet the 'Zero Hunger' UN Development Goal. Please find the seminar recording here.

14 May 2021. Dr Andre Cabrera Serrenho: Plastic, the 'P' word. Please find the seminar recording here.

7 May 2021. Nadia Radzman (Plant Sciences): African Yam bean to reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Please find the seminar recording here.  

23 April 2021. Emelyn Rude (History): From Losing Oysters and Loving Shrimps: a case study in the culinary response to an ecological catastrophe. Please find the seminar recording here.  

26 March 2021. Dr Sarah Dalzell: Nutrition in Context: Are millets a strategy for sustainable, healthy diets in The Gambia?

19 March 2021. Dr Amelia Hood (Zoology): The impact of understory vegetation management on predators in oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia.

12 March 2021. Dr Curie Park (Institute for Manufacturing): How to address food industry challenges (including sugar, cocoa, meat, fish, vegetables, and cereals), such as healthy nutrition and sustainable food systems. Please find the seminar recording here.

5 March 2021. Dr Angela Cano (assistant curator, University Botanic Gardens): How we can safeguard rare plants on earth and ensure they can benefit everyone in the future. Please find the seminar recording here.

26 February 2021. Dr Alessandra Galie of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI): How livestock management can assist in empowering rural women, particularly at a time when livestock itself is under threat from environmental challenges. Please find the seminar recording here.  

19 February 2021. PhD student Dolly Theis (CEDAR): Is the UK Childhood Obesity Plan fit for purpose? Looking at policy and evidence. Please find a recording of the seminar here (University of Cambridge Raven ID needed).

12 February 2021. Dr Emma Garnett (CISL): What approaches work to increase vegetarian sales  and reduce meat consumption?  

5 February 2021. Dr Giles Yeo (Clinical Biochemistry): Is obesity a choice?

29 January 2021. PhD student Adam Muhammad Adam (Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology): How smartphone integrated soil sensors can help small-scale farmers to achieve sustainable soil diagnosis and nutrient management.  

22 January 2021. Dr Payam Mehrshahi (Plant Sciences): How our improved understanding of algae is helping develop new sustainable and nutritious ingredients for future kitchens and animal feed.


4 December 2020. PhD student Harriet Barlett (Zoology) and Dr Amy Munro-Faure (Cambridge Zero): How farming can be more sustainable and make our Christmas greener.  

27 November 2020. PhD student Rhiannon Wood (Vet Studies): Superbugs in our food: should we be worried?  

20 November 2020. Dr Nazia Mintz-Habib (Resilience and Sustainability Research Programme) : Food security in a warming world.

13 November 2020. Dr Federica Sulas (Archaelogy): Farming & feeding the Ethiopian highlands: practicing food security through time.

 November 2020. Professor Michel Ghanem (Plant Sciences, University Mohammed VI, Morocco): Neglected no more: why some crops are orphans - and what can be done for food security.

23 October 2020. Professor Martin Jones  (Archaelogy): FAO's "Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems" (GIAHS).

16 October 2020. Dr Paolo Bombelli (Bio-Chemistry): How plants and solar-panels can co-exist to produce green energy and better crops.

9 October 2020. Dr Harriet Hunt (Archaeogenetics): Food security and the archeology of minor crops.

2 October 2020. Dr Lili Jia (Institute for Manufacturing): How can we incentivise the architecture of a sustainable food system?

25 September 2020. PhD student Charlotte Milbank (Zoology): Wild Foods, Hunger and Nutrition - harnessing knowledge for sustainable food security.

18 September 2020. Dr Matt Davey (Plant Sciences): Climate Change is turning Antarctic coast green.

31 July 2020. PhD student Chioma Achi (Vet Studies): Salmonella as a threat to food security. 

24 July 2020. Dr Milorad Radakovic (Vets Studies): Safe food or food as perceived as safe.

17 July 2020. PhD student Bright Jaato (Engineering): Solar energy technology for water purification in Africa.

10 July 2020. Professor Cristiane Derani (Law): Sustainable Food Systems in the EU.

3 July 2020. Dr Helen Curry (History): History of Seed Banks and the Future of Food. 

26 June 2020. MPhil student Daniella Salazar-Herrera (Development Studies): How can small folder farmers help fight poverty and hunger?

19 June 2020. PhD student David Willer (Zoology): Aquaculture and sustainability.

12 June 2020. Dr Jean Adams (CEDAR): Food Insecurity in the UK.

5 June 2020. PhD student Dorien Braam (Vet Studies): Infectious Disease in misplaced populations.

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Global food security is a major research priority for UK and international science.

Cambridge Global Food Security is a virtual centre at the University of Cambridge. We promote an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the challenge of ensuring all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. 

Please contact the Programme Manager D.ssa Francesca Re Manning to request information, share information, or join our mailing list. 

Please find the latest COVID-19 information here