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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

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Cambridge's current EIT Food projects

The University of Cambridge is currently involved in a number of collaborative projects with partners in the EIT Food consortium. Funded by EIT Food, these projects share the common vision of putting Europe at the centre of a global revolution in food innovation and production, and in how it is valued by society.

Projects running in 2019 include:



Developing Fava beans as a sustainable source of high quality protein for food, through optimized genetics, farming & processing.

Project partners: University of Cambridge, Institute for Manufacturing (Dr Jag Srai), Nestle (Dr Isabelle Privat), Roquette (Dr. Jean-Michel Roturier)

Cambridge lead: Prof. Howard Griffiths, Dept. of Plant Sciences

Sub-contractor expertise: Faba bean genetics – NIAB, Cambridge

Favuleux will explore the supply chain required to develop fava beans as a sustainable source of dietary protein. Demand is increasing for sustainably plant based protein sources for human nutrition, and fava bean could be a great opportunity to develop an alternative high-protein crop for Europe. Fava bean is a grain legume well-adapted to Northern Europe and relatively cheap to grow. Two million tonnes are currently produced across the EU, particularly in the UK and Northern France. However, it is mainly grown for animal feed and has shown variability in terms of yield, resulting in a lower attractiveness for farmers.

A diverse collection of beans will be grown in field trials and evaluated for characters including sustainable productivity, nutrition, and processing quality. The project will develop an economically viable and environmentally sustainable pipeline for producing superior healthy food products from fava bean. The feasibility of exploiting fava bean as an economically and environmentally sustainable source of protein for human consumption will be assessed.


AnnualFoodAgenda             AnnualFoodAgenda

Project partners: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid-IMDEA Food (project lead); University of Cambridge; CSIC; Grupo AN; Institute of Animal Reproduction & Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences; Maspex; Pepsico.

Cambridge lead: Esme Booth, Dept. of Plant Sciences

This project aims to engage consumers and encourage them to think more about the food they eat, and its journey along the value chain. Through a series of 32 themed events held throughout the year in Poland, Spain and the UK, we will encourage public debate and interaction amongst the different players in the food system, from academic and industry to producers and consumers.

Events will include talks, exhibitions, scientific cafes and hands-on activities and are organised around four seasonal topics: Jan – Mar #Trusting in Food; Apr-Jun #Food Trends & Future Consumers; Jul-Sept #Healthier Nutrition; Oct-Dec #Food Sustainability. The events will aim to raise awareness about the food system, and empower people to make healthier, more sustainable choices for themselves and for the planet.

Find out more on the AnnualFoodAgenda website.

Cambridge events will be listed on our Events page.



The Future Kitchen Virtual Reality Experiencefuturekitchen_small

Infotainment series powered by EIT Food

Project partners: Matis, University of Cambridge, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Döhler, EUFIC, Agrilution, Eskesso, Flatev, NaturalMachines

Cambridge leads: Esme Booth, Department of Plant Sciences; Emma Goode, Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme

Through VR Future Kitchen we are developing a series of virtual reality videos with the ultimate goal of entertaining and educating the general public (in particular those aged between 12-37) about new food technologies and how innovation is impacting our food habits. Virtual reality allows viewers to be immersed in a totally novel environment, and experience an innovative story about food sustainability. Our aim is for these videos to encourage younger generations to act with food sustainability in mind and to embrace a healthier diet.

Follow Future Kitchen on the FoodUnfolded website or Instagram.


Food tech transitions: reconnecting agri-food, technology, and society 

Summer School 2019

Project partners: University of Hohenheim, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Cambridge

Cambridge lead: Dr Lili Jia, Institute for Manufacturing

The summer school aimed to provide future professionals with the critical skills and tools to understand current and future challenges in the food industry (e.g. processing, conservation, distribution, meal creation) and enable the transition towards a more sustainable industry. We aimed to get to the heart of the transition issues by having participants tackle the disconnect between agri-food, technology and society, and unleash their creativity in terms of possible solutions and business ideas that can be created.

Find out more  


Algal Biotechnology Techniques and Opportunities for the Sustainable Bio-economy

Professional Development Courses

Project partners: University of Cambridge, Matis, Fraunhofer

Cambridge lead: Dr Matt Davey, Department of Plant Sciences.

Algae are microscopic plants that can be used for a huge range of food products and sustainable food production pipelines. They are one of the most promising and emerging trends for the food industry. Join one of our short professional development courses to find out more about how these amazing and versatile organisms can help your research and business.

The workshops will run for two days, in three different European locations, including the University of Cambridge Algal Innovation Centre (AIC) on 12-13th December 2019.

More information and how to register on our Events page.


Improving Food Production with Agricultural Technology and Plant Biotechnology

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Project partners: University of Cambridge, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spanish National Research Council, Koppert, John Deere, Herbstreith & Fox

Cambridge lead: Dan Jenkins, Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme

This MOOC will introduce 16 to 19 year-olds to the biggest challenges in plant-based food production, and how they are being addressed by innovative scientific and technological developments in three areas: plant biotechnology, agricultural technology and applied food science. Featuring real case studies from the laboratory and the field in videos, articles, quizzes and an interactive game, this free course will inspire young learners to pursue further study and careers in the areas covered.

The course will be available on the FutureLearn platform. It will run for three weeks in October 2019 and is free to join.

Green Last Mile Delivery (GLAD)

Project partners: University of Cambridge, Colruyt Group, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, University of Warsaw.

Cambridge lead: Dr Jag Srai, Institute for Manufacturing

Consumers are looking for convenience, and this is reflected in the growth of online grocery shopping. However, the resulting extra road traffic causes problems in densely populated areas and has a high impact on the environment. GLAD will develop a strategy and a platform to help make the last mile in food e-commerce sustainable and adapted to consumer needs, while taking into account the economic reality. The platform is based around the idea of matching consumer demand with different means of transport, including collection points, e-trucks, bikes, and delivery by other consumers. An algorithm will optimize the mode of transport for ‘last-mile’ delivery, taking into account the ecological footprint, cost to serve, available capacity, traffic data and consumer preferences. Dynamic pricing will be tested at consumer level to increase sustainable behaviour.


MAKEit Sugar Hack 2019 

A Unique Opportunity to Solve the World’s Sugar Consumption Crisis

Cambridge lead: Dr Shima Barakat, Institute for Manufacturing

Sugar Hack 2019 was held on 19-21 July, at Makespace Cambridge. Every year, nearly four million people die from blood sugar-related conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure and obesity. Diabetes now affects close to 450 million people round the world, almost double those affected in 1980. In the UK alone, some 18 million people are classed as ‘pre-diabetic’ with an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

We offered the unique opportunity of taking part in a special three-day Sugar Hack organised by EIT Food in association with the University of Cambridge and Makespace Cambridge. Joining a consortium of global companies and world class researchers, participants took part in one of a series of MAKEathons across Europe; the first with the sole aim of solving our sugar crisis and significantly improving people’s future lives.

Sugar Hack 2019 is part of a series of MAKEathons delivered by the MAKEit project under the consortium of EIT Food, partially funded by EIT to hack solutions for simpler and smarter food value chains.


EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.


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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. 

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