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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge



This project is assembling multiple small groups of researchers representing the natural, physical, and social sciences as well as the humanities, to discuss objects relating to global food security.

Conversations will be audio-visually recorded and transcribed, and objects photographed to create a series of feature articles, podcasts, videos, a public photography exhibition, and an edited book. It is hoped that discussions will help academics from very different backgrounds better to understand each other, communicate across disciplinary boundaries, and gain more holistic perspectives on their research.

The project is anticipated to generate novel ideas and enthusiasm for new cross-disciplinary collaborations to emerge. In addition, Objects is designed to extend conversations about food security to a larger public audience and thereby contribute to public awareness and discussion of the food security challenge.

The project began in 2018, with funding secured from the Isaac Newton Trust and the European Research Council, and continues in 2019 with activities related to each object. The objects selected for 2018-19 are wheat, the potato, the cow, processed food, fertilizer, and the fridge-freezer. 

The project's first activity occurred as part of the 2019 Cambridge Science Festival, when participants held a transdiscplinary discussion about the role of wheat and potatoes in global food security. More information about the project and its associated activities can be found on the gloknos website, our collaborator on this project.  



Prof Martin Jones (Department of Archaeology) 
Dr Alison Bentley (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) 
Dr Helen Ann Curry (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)


Dr Lauren Gardiner (Department of Plant Sciences)
Dr David Firman (National Institute of Agricultural Botany)
Dr Mukesh Kumar (Institute for Manufacturing)
Dr David Nally (Department of Geography)


Dr Pablo Salas (C-EENRG)
Prof James Wood (Department of Veterinary Medicine)
Ms Lesley Steinitz (Faculty of History)
Dr Melissa Calaresu (Faculty of History)
Dr Victoria Avery (Fitzwilliam Museum)

Processed food 

Dr Jean Adams (The Centre for Diet and Activity Research)
Dr Lili Jia (Institute for Manufacturing)
Prof Marie Louise Sørensen (Department of Archaeology)


Dr Stéphanie Swarbreck (Department of Plant Sciences)
Dr Inanna Hamati-Ataya (CRASSH)


Prof Jaideep Prabhu (Judge Business School)
Prof Steve Evans (Institute for Manufacturing)
Dr Shailaja Fennell (Department of Land Economy)

Image courtesy of Laura Carnicero.



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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Upcoming events

UCCRI Conference 2019

Sep 24, 2019

Large Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, CB2 3QZ

23rd Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium

Sep 26, 2019

Moller Centre, Cambridge

Behaviour Change by Design Annual Lecture 2019

Sep 26, 2019

Howard Theatre, Downing College, University of Cambridge, Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1DQ

Meat and potatoes: changing diets for changing times?

Oct 15, 2019

Sainsbury Laboratory Auditorium, 47 Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LR

The (Virtual) Reality of our Food

Oct 19, 2019

Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site, Room S2

Upcoming events