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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 October 2015


Please find below some latest news, events, publications and funding opportunities, which are of relevance to food security researchers in Cambridge. Five influential and wide-ranging papers involving Cambridge academics are listed, whilst amongst the events coming up this month, the second Cambridge-Africa Day on 23 October features presentations on sustainable agricultural practices in southern Tanzania and community involvement in conservation and development in Uganda. We also wish to highlight the Food: Field to Table? series of seminars and meetings organised by the student-led Cambridge Food Security Forum with the support of CRASSH and the Initiative. The inaugural meeting is on Wednesday 7 October and welcomes Prof Tim Wheeler, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development (DfID). See further details under News and Announcements below. 


Do use this newsletter for sharing your own food security-related news and events – we will happily include any copy that you send over.


Dr Will Simonson, tel: +44 (0)1223 333925+44 (0)1223 333925


News and announcements


Cambridge representation at the Elsevier 2nd International Conference on Global Food Security (Cornell University, 11-14 October 2015)

Dr Ksenia Gerasimova of the Centre of Development Studies will be attending this conference and presenting a paper on ‘Urban agriculture movement: Exploring its policy-making in Europe’. She would love to hear from anyone else going from Cambridge – please contact her at

Cambridge Food Security Forum launches ‘Food: Field to Table?’ research group

The Cambridge Food Security Forum is an interdisciplinary network of students and early career researchers at the University of Cambridge. The Forum aims to promote interdisciplinary discussion amongst members of the University and raise awareness of the challenge of food security in the broader community.

In 2015/2016, the Forum is organising a research group Food: Field to Table? with support from the Cambridge University Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities. This research group will examine multiple aspects of the global food system, following food across academic boundaries from field to table. You can find more information about the research group and programme here.

As part of the outreach activities of the Forum, there will also be a podcast series, ‘Greedy Planet’, which will launch in October 2015. The series is aimed at the general public and will investigate different issues related to food security. To find out more follow the Forum on Twitter @greedyplanet or Facebook


HLPE Report on Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition, including the Role of Livestock: e-Consultation


In October 2014, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) to conduct a study on Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition, including the role of Livestock. The findings of this study will feed into CFS 43 Plenary session (October 2016).


As part of its report elaboration process, the HLPE is launching an e-consultation to seek inputs, suggestions, and comments on the present V0 Draft. This open e-consultation will be used by the HLPE to further elaborate the report, which will then be submitted to external expert review, before finalization and approval by the HLPE Steering Committee.


The draft report can be downloaded here. To send comments and participate to the on-line discussion, visit the dedicated HLPE e-consultation webpage. Comments can be submitted online until 31 October 2015, by mail to, or directly to the HLPE Secretariat at





6 October 2015 Improving Nutrition through Agriculture: Cost-Effectiveness of Biofortification

World Bank, Washington DC Register for the webinar.   


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

Cornell University, US

Hosted by Cornell University and Columbia University


13 October 2015: Pollinator: New innovations in crop breeding

Norwich Research Park, Norwich


14 October 2015: Next steps for the UK’s Agri-tech Strategy

America Square conference centre, London



21–22 October 2015: The future of Food - The future of Biodiversity

Regent’s Park, London

A major symposium on the global impacts of UK food consumption organised by the Zoological Society of London


22 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


23 October 2015: Cambridge-Africa Day

The Cambridge-Africa Day 2015 will take place on 23rd October 2015, at St John’s College (Fisher Building) in Cambridge. This event will showcase the wide range of mutually beneficial collaborative research projects, capacity building initiatives and development activities by Cambridge academics and students in partnership with African colleagues. The Day will be introduced by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge - Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa (Vice Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda) will give a keynote speech. We are expecting attendees from Cambridge and beyond, including our colleagues, friends, supporters, representatives from development and funding organisations, other UK and African institutions and industry. The event is free to attend, but registration is required via the link


28 October 2015: The challenge of feeding 9–10 billion without losing most biodiversity Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography 5-6 pm

Cambridge Conservation Seminar to be given by Prof Charles Godfray, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.


18 November 2015: Biodiversity and Local Partnerships - Halting the Decline of the Honey Bee in the UK

Central London

A Public Policy Exchange Symposium


19 November 2015: Food Matters Live: Creating a productive, resilient and sustainable food system

Conference Theatre, ExCeL, London

Including a debate chaired by Jonathon Dimbleby


10 December 2015: Policy on high fat, sugar and salt foods - next steps for reformulation, marketing and regulation

Central London

Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Keynote Seminar





If you have any relevant papers recently published or in press, please keep us informed.

Hollands, G.J. … Marteau, T.M.Ogilvie, D. (Sept 2015) Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 9. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011045.pub2


Hutchinson, W.F. … O’Connell, T.C.Barrett, J.H. (Sept 2015) The globalization of naval provisioning: ancient DNA and stable isotope analyses of stored cod from the wreck of the Mary Rose, AD 1545. R. Soc. Open Sci. 2: 150199. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150199


Mugisha Mukuve, F. & Fenner, R. (Sept 2015) Scale variability of water, land, and energy resource interactions and their influence on the food system in Uganda. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 2: 79-95.


Parnell, S., Gottwald, T.R., Cunniffe, N.J., Alonso Chavez, V., & van den Bosch, F. (Sept 2015). Early detection surveillance for an emerging plant pathogen: a rule of thumb to predict prevalence at first discoveryProc. R. Soc. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1478


Tanentzap, A.J., Lamb, A., Walker, S. & Farmer, A. (Sept 2015) Resolving Conflicts between Agriculture and the Natural Environment. PLoS Biol 13(9): e1002242. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002242





Philomathia Forum 2016 (deadline: 22 October 2015)

The third annual Philomathia Symposium will take place in September 2016 in Cambridge. Each annual Symposium represents the culmination of a year’s worth of interdisciplinary conversations that begin first in the Philomathia Forum – a series of individual workshops that link topically to the Symposium’s theme. It is hoped that the fora generate debate and raise questions that can directly inform the Programme’s primary research.


For the academic year 2015-16, the Forum will provide funding for up to four sessions that aim to interrogate the public policy implications of interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences, medicine, ethics and the social sciences. In addition, small grants may be available for ancillary research assistance or small-scale projects arising from the Forum. We will be interested to engage with those leading Forum sessions over proceedings of the session, follow-up research and publicity.

Proposals are now invited from researchers in all disciplines, for Forum sessions to be held between December 2015 and July 2016; if you have any queries or are interested in collaborating in this way, please email Kristen Klebba at for an application form which should be submitted by close of business on 22 October 2015.


Feeding a changing world -  Horizon 2020 funding for resource efficient bio-based value chains (13 October 2015, Manchester)

Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme (deadline: 16 October 2015)

Since 2011, with generous support of the University, the Isaac Newton Trust, and the Schools of Arts & Humanities and the Humanities & Social Sciences, the Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme [CHRG] has supported a wide portfolio of research projects within the arts, humanities and social sciences. A substantial number of researchers using the Scheme have gone on to secure major project grants or have developed enduring collaborative networks, all of which is reflected in a thriving research community at Cambridge. There is clear evidence that undertaking pilot research or networking through a CHRG award has directly benefited subsequent research, generating higher-quality applications and improving success rates. Following the success of the Scheme to date, increased funding will be available in a second phase of the Scheme between 2015-2019. The Scheme will support three tiers of activity:

  • Tier 1 – Newton Trust Small Grants - £1500 max. This tier continues to provide dedicated support for small-scale research activity, e.g. to scope a project, complete editorial tasks, assemble/manage data etc. This tier is particularly effective in assisting researchers to complete publications or to launch a new activity. Up to £30k in total will be awarded each year within Tier 1.
  • Tier 2 – Standard Grants - £1-20,000. This tier supports a wide range of general research grants which may further develop an initial idea or enable preparatory work for a large-scale project. The scale of these grants also facilitates collaborative research.
  • Tier 3 – PSL/Exchange – up to £10,000. This tier assists Cambridge researchers to develop effective networks with researchers in Paris Sciences et Lettres. Up to £40k in total will be awarded each year within Tier 3.

The Scheme as a whole is intended for any researcher in the arts, humanities and social sciences holding a current contract of employment as an independent researcher - at the point of application - with either the University or a College. Potential applicants are asked to note in particular that an individual project may not be submitted both to this Scheme and the Isaac Newton Trust in the same year, whether successful or otherwise. Further information, or contact Dr Kristen Klebba, Social Sciences Research Coordinator


Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context (deadline: 27 October 2015)

A joint research council (BBSRC/NERC/ESRC) call.


AXA Postdoctoral Fellowships 2015/2016 Campaign (University of Cambridge Restricted Call – deadline: 13 November 2015)

AXA Research Fund has announced the call for postdoctoral fellowships 2015 / 2016. Post-Doctoral projects funded by the AXA Research Fund should contribute to a better understanding of one of three clusters of risks: Environmental Risks, Life Risks, Socio-Economic Risks. The awarded projects will be funded for 2 years for a maximum total of 130,000 for the entire duration of the funding. Further information on terms and conditions of the AXA postdoctoral fellowships including the assessment criteria is available here.


The candidates must have been awarded their first PhD within the 5 years preceding the submission of the “light” proposal to AXA (14th December 2015). The international mobility is a strong condition for these awards and that AXA expects that most of the selected candidates move to another country between current and targeted position. The international mobility is more valued than national mobility. Where a candidate remains in the same institution a clear justification of such a decision is required.


The number of proposals per institution is limited.  The institutions will be informed how many applications they can submit on 18th November 2015 or soon after. This call will be coordinated according to University’s Restricted Calls Policy. All applicants for the internal selection should either plan to move to another country between current and targeted position, or should have spent a minimum of one term abroad. All applicants should have at least one important publication without the participation of their PhD supervisor. The internal selection panel will use the same assessment criteria as outlined in AXA’s guidance document and in line with the AXA criteria will prioritise candidates with international mobility. Please submit letter to by 13th November 2015 the following documents:

  • your internal selection form
  • current CV with publications (2 pages maximum + ½ page for most relevant publications) and
  • Head of Department support letter. The letter should confirm that the Department is happy to host the project, the reasons why the Department is recommending and supporting the particular proposal and a critical review of the proposal and its relative assessment.

Innovate UK

Three agri-tech catalyst grant awards available, for projects in various stages of development.

  • Industrial research: for business-led collaborative projects that develop any relevant innovative solutions from across all sectors of agri-tech or other industrial sectors, and that advance the sustainable intensification of global agriculture, including aquaculture, by developing innovative solutions. For projects of up to three years, worth up to £3 million each. Deadline:7 Oct 2015
  • Early Stage: for pre-industrial research feasibility studies that explore the commercial potential of an early-stage innovative idea, through review of research evidence and application potential in agri-food production, assessment of business opportunity or scoping for further development. For projects of up to 18 months, costing between £150,000 and £500,000. Deadline: 13 Jan 2016
  • Late stagefor experimental development projects that test and validate innovative concepts in a commercial environment to demonstrate their economic and technical feasibility ahead of large-scale deployment. For projects of up to one year, worth up to £1 million each. Deadline: 13 Jan 2016


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