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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Welcome to the Newsletter of the University of Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative for June 2015

There are currently two specific opportunities for engagement with the Initiative. Firstly, the deadline for applications for the seed funding awards has been extended to the end of Friday 12th June. As described below, this programme seeks to promote cross-disciplinary working within the University on food security challenges. Secondly, bookings are now open for the Global Food Security Cambridge Symposium on Wednesday 8th July at the Sainsbury Laboratory. Come along to the day if you can to learn about the breadth of food security-relevant research activity taking place in Cambridge. Details about both opportunities can be found under News and announcements below.


It was good to see some of you at the Festival of Plants Pop-up Science Marque last month, and also the Tropical Agriculture Association (TAA) seminar on Global Food Security to 2050, which the Initiative co-sponsored. Podcasts from this event will be uploaded to our website soon.


Please read on for further news, events, publications and funding opportunities. If anyone from the University is attending a future food security-related event, it would be helpful to be kept informed. Do also feed in any other news and developments that you could like communicating to the wider community of food security researchers.


Dr Will Simonson, Coordinator, Global Food Security Strategic Research Initiative, tel: +44 (0)1223 333925


News and announcements


BOOKINGS NOW OPEN: Wednesday 8th July 2015 – Global Food Security Cambridge Symposium, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge (Internal only)

Bookings are now open for the one-day symposium taking place at the Sainsbury Laboratory on Wednesday 8th July 2015, 9.30–5.30. The aim of the day is to learn about and be inspired by food security research taking place across the University, and explore ways in which collaboration across disciplines can bring greater impact. Speakers from all Schools in the University will be speaking on topics ranging from zoonoses to forests and food security, resource limitations on the Ugandan food system to food supply chain risks and sustainability. The programme is close to being finalised and will be posted on the website shortly, but it is not too late to offer to contribute to it in some way. Contact me at the address above if you are interested. Further information and booking details


Seed award funding (Internal only)

Applications are invited for small seed-funding grants to encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration across the university in the area of Global Food Security. The aim of the grants is begin the conversations and lay down the foundations for ambitious projects in the future, tackling some of the major challenges: Reducing food waste and loss; Increasing crop and livestock productivity; Producing more habitat for biodiversity as well as humanity; Understanding political and structural influences on access to food; Dealing with climate change uncertainty; Promoting sustainable and healthy diets. Deadline: 12th June. Further guidance and application details


State of Food Insecurity in the World

The latest edition of the annual UN hunger report was published on 27 May 2015. It shows that there has been a gradual fall in the number of hungry people in the world to 795 million (or one in nine of the global population). A majority – 72 out of 129 – of the countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015, with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin. Further information and download.


Forests and food security – new report launched

A recent study by the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security, chaired by Dr Bhaskar Vira of the Department of Geography, was launched at the UN Forum on Forests in New York 4-15 May 2015. The report shows how forests and trees can complement agricultural production and give an economic boost to some of the world’s most vulnerable regions. Further information.


Threats to soil productivity threaten food security

Paper in published on 7th May in Science highlights the precarious state of the world's soil resources and the possible ramifications for human security. Science Daily


Online consultation on the role of research in global food security and nutrition

The European Commission launched an online consultation on the role of research in global food and nutrition security. The aim of the consultation is to gather the views of stakeholders, citizens and the scientific community on the role that research has to play in tackling the challenges associated with ensuring food and nutrition security. The questions are based on the discussion paper with the same title prepared by the Steering Committee of the EU Scientific Programme of Expo Milano 2015. Deadline for contributions: 1st September 2015. Further information.




11th June 2015: Towards New Farming and Food Systems: Sustainable Intensification and Food Democracy

Pavilions of Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate

An event organised by @FEED, a new University of Hull inter-disciplinary research grouping


24th–26th June 2015: Food, feeding and eating in and out of Asia

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

An event organised by the Asian Dynamics Initiative.


25th June 2015: CFS High Level Forum on Connecting Smallholders to Markets

FAO, Rome, Italy


14th July 2015: Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum Keynote Seminar: Meeting the challenges of food security: innovation, sustainability and international collaboration

Central London

A seminar organised by the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum, to discuss priorities for food security in the UK, and Britain’s role in helping meet global challenges.


7th–10th September 2015: The 5th international symposium for farming systems design: Multi-functional farming systems in a changing world

Montpellier, France


14-25th September 2015: Lost harvest and wasted food

Wageningen, The Netherlands

A course organised by the Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation


11th–14th October 2015: Elsevier Second International Conference on Global Food Security

Cornell University, US


22nd October 2015: Next steps for UK Agricultural Technologies - investment, research and progress from the catalyst projects

Central London

A Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Keynote Seminar




Selected research articles from Cambridge (Feb-May 2015)


Field pathogenomics reveals the emergence of a diverse wheat yellow rust population

The influence of water, land, energy and soil-nutrient resource interactions on the food system in Uganda

Optimising and Communicating Options for the Control of Invasive Plant Disease When There Is Epidemiological Uncertainty

Seeds, Agricultural Systems and Socio-natures: Towards an Actor–Network Theory Informed Political Ecology of Agriculture

The role of agri-environment schemes in conservation and environmental management


Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition




The Newton Fund now has a website:


Horizon 2020: Resource-efficient eco-innovative food production and processing (deadline 15th June 2015)


Newton Fund Collaboration Programme (deadline 18th June 2015)


The Yara prize, Yara International (deadline 19th June 2015)

The prize aims to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture and food security within a sustainable context, thereby helping to reduce hunger and poverty. Applications must be submitted in French or English. The prize is worth US$60,000, and may be split between a maximum of two winners.


Future Climate for Africa (DFID/NERC)


Agri-Tech Catalyst - Early-stage awards - round 4 (deadline 24th June 2015) 

Funding proposals relating to: primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture; non-food uses of crops including ornamentals; food security and nutrition challenges in international development; challenges in downstream food processing, provided the solution lies in primary production.


Ferrero Hazelnut Award Contest (deadline 30th June 2015)

The Ferrero Hazelnut Company has launched an award aimed to support and improve research and innovation in the hazelnut world in all its aspects and addressed to PhDs and researchers of universities and other non-profit institutions of higher education of the whole world. A grant of €150,000 will be awarded to the best project idea for its development and two awards of €5,000 each will be assigned to the second and the third place winners, according to an evaluation grid rewarding innovation, sustainability, transferability, and timeframe applicability. Participants can choose among four topics dealing with improvements, innovation, sustainability and new strategies for the hazelnut cultivation and develop their research or development plan in one of these areas.


Conservation, Food and Health Foundation (deadline 1st July 2015)


Healthy Urban Living and the Social Science of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus: UK-Brazil Calls for Collaborative Research (deadline 2nd July 2015)

Proposals are invited for collaborative projects between the UK and Brazil which contribute to the economic development and welfare of Brazil within the areas of Healthy Urban Living and the Social Science of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:  Optimising nutrition outcomes from investments in agriculture


Newton Researcher Links workshop grants (deadline 13th July 2015)


Newton-Bhabha PhD placements programme – British Council (deadline 31st July 2015)

This enables UK and Indian PhD students to spend between three and six months in Indian and UK higher education institutions. Funding covers the cost of visa fees, economy class international airfares, overseas medical insurance and in-country costs, including accommodation and a monthly stipend of up to £1,300 for Indian students and INR25,000 for UK students.


COMING SOON: H2020-SFS-2016 call for sustainable food security – resilient and resource-efficient value chains, topics SFS-1, SFS-2 and SFS-3