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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 May 2015

This is to be a regular communication sent to all members of the University’s GFS Initiative and those who have signed up to our mailing list. If this does not apply to you, do feel free to unsubscribe by contacting me at the address below. Each issue will highlight news, events and funding opportunities relevant to those active in food security research in Cambridge and beyond. Publications from Cambridge and elsewhere will also be featured in future issues. Most of this will also be on the website of the Initiative (, which we hope you will find an increasingly useful resource. If there is something that you would like to bring to the food security community’s attention, do send it to me at the contact email below for inclusion in the newsletter and website. I look forward to hearing any feedback to on what information would be most useful to you. It will also be good to meet you at an upcoming event: the Tropical Agriculture Association symposium on Global Food Security to 2050 (14th May), Festival of Plants (16th May), and Global Food Security internal symposium (8th July 2015).


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


News and announcements


Save the date! Wednesday 8th July 2015: Global Food Security Cambridge Symposium, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge (Internal only)

A one-day symposium will be taking place at the Sainsbury Laboratory on Wednesday 8th July 2015 to raise mutual awareness of food security research taking place across the University, and explore ways in which collaboration across disciplines can bring greater impact and innovation. Registrations will open soon, with further details on the programme of the day. In the meantime, if anyone would like to contribute a talk, or participate/help in other ways, do get in contact. Ideas on topics that you would like to see addressed are also very welcome.


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.


Further guidance and application details


Sustainable Futures Challenge

Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) aims to bring together students, academics, staff, and alumni to tackle problems relating to the question: “How can we enable sustainable supply and production of food and water in a sustainable fashion?” Visit here for further information.


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 EC wants ‘an open and forward-looking debate with stakeholders to encourage dynamic and evidence-based policy making to tackle the many pressing challenges associated with 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. The paper analyses research and innovation challenges, looks at areas of research where the EU can add most value and discusses the necessary changes in the structures within which research has traditionally been conducted. It identifies areas of research where the EU can add most value. The consultation will remain open for contributions until the 1st September 2015. Further information.




6th May 2015: Can GM crops help field the world?

Biffen Lecture Theatre, Department of Genetics, 1-2 pm

Sir Brian Heap delivers the latest of the Food Futures seminars.


8th May 2015: Abstract deadline for the Elsevier Second International Conference on Global Food Security

Cornell University, Ithaca, US


14th May 2015: Seminar on Global Food Security to 2050

Hughes Hall, Cambridge

Hosted by the Tropical Agriculture Assocation (TAA), CambPlants, Global Food Security Initiative and Humanitarian Centre.


15th May 2015: The Future of Sustainable Agriculture: Land Sparing or Land Sharing?

Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge, 4.30-6.30 pm

A panel debate as part of the Festival of Plants, featuring Caroline Drummond (Leaf), Professor Jane Hill (University of York), and Professor Charles Godfray (University of Oxford), chaired by Professor Ottoline Leyser (Sainsbury Laboratory).


16th May: Feeding the world without costing the earth

Auditorium, Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge, 2-3 pm

Professor Andrew Balmford will discuss how agriculture and biodiversity can co-exist, at this Festival of Plants event.


16th May: Festival of Plants

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Come and join us at the Global Food Security stand in the Pop-up Plant Sciences Marquee.


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

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

An event organised by the Asian Dynamics Initiative.


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

Central London: 9am-1pm

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.




Managing the Environment to Improve Human Health and Wellbeing


Science for Nature and People (SNAP) are accepting proposals for new working groups (deadline 18th May 2015)


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


Newton Fund Collaboration Programme (deadline 18th June 2015)


Future Climate for Africa (DFID/NERC)


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


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


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