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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 September 2015


It was good to see some of you at the symposium held at The Sainsbury Laboratory earlier in the summer on Wednesday 8th July. Slides and audio recordings of the talks, as well as some photos and perspectives, can be found at this link. Ideas for future events later this next year or next are always appreciated. In the meantime, Prof Chris Gilligan will be chairing a session on ‘Conserving biodiversity’ at the ZSL Symposium on The Future of food – the future of biodiversity? (21-22 October 2015), and below there is an announcement about a Food Analysis Congress taking place in Cambridge on the 15th-16th of this month. This is organised by SELECTBIO and they are kindly offering our contacts and members a registration discount. See details below, along with other events, news, publications and funding opportunities, including the recently announced Cambridge Humanities Research Grant Scheme. In terms of small grant schemes, awards have been made from our seed award funding competition and these will be announced on the website shortly, and in next month’s newsletter.


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


News and announcements


Vacancy: Coordinator of the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative

We are seeking a co-ordinator to provide high-level support to the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative (CGFS). Deadline 8September 2015. Further information


Global warming increases ‘food shocks threat’

Climate change is increasing the risk of severe 'food shocks' where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world.

Global Food Security Champion Tim Benton’s blog piece

BBC News reporting


High-level discussion highlights pathways for achieving food security under climate change and reducing global emissions from agriculture

An event on ‘Food and Farming under Climate Change: Moving toward a global agreement’ took place on 8 July 2015 alongside the global science conference Our Common Future Under Climate Change in Paris. The events aimed to catalyse action in the lead-up to the UN Climate Conference (COP21) in December. Many actions which enhance food security and improve climate resilience for smallholders, also reduce emissions. This is according to Michel Mordasini, Vice President of IFAD, who shared a new study which found that thirteen IFAD-supported adaptation projects could reduce CO­2 emissions by about 30 million tonnes by 2034. The study, which was undertaken by IFAD, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), showed that improved agronomic practices, afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands help address farmers’ immediate needs for increasing yields and incomes, even with more unpredictable weather, while also reducing emissions and storing more carbon in the landscape. Source: CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security




14 October 2015: AHDB Grain Market Outlook Conference - A shrinking world with growing markets – the influence of politics and trade




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

Montpellier, France


10 September 2015: Next steps for UK food waste policy – waste reduction, innovation and anaerobic digestion

Central London

Organised by the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum, this conference will bring together policymakers and key stakeholders to discuss the future of UK food waste policy and the role that producers, retailers, households and government can play in reducing waste across the food chain. 9.00-13.00.



14–25 September 2015: Lost harvest and wasted food

Wageningen, The Netherlands

A course organised by the Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation


15-16 September 2015: Food Analysis Congress

Cambridge, UK

Safety, Quality, Novel Technologies

A discount code for academic delegates on this newsletter circulation list is available. The code is GFSI20. This will give academic delegates 20% off registration meaning that the usual £499 + VAT registration will be £399.20 + VAT. Student registration (not discountable) is £150 + VAT or £199 + VAT with a poster. Poster submission closes on 8th September.

18 September 2015: Tackling the nitrogen crisis: what are the solutions?

Oxford, UK

Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford


23–24 September 2015: Agricultural Research for Development Conference

Uppsala, Sweden

Agriculture for food security post 2015 – the role of science – Agri 4D 2015



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

Cornell University, US

Hosted by Cornell University and Columbia University


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


24-25 September 2015: The 19th Cambridge Annual International Manufacturing Symposium

Moller Centre, Cambridge, UK
International Manufacturing - revisited

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

A debate chaired by Jonathon Dimbleby



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


Ort, D.R. … Hibberd, J.M. et al. (July 2015). Redesigning photosynthesis to sustainably meet global food and bioenergy demand PNAS 112(28): 8529-8536.


Olivera, P. … Gilligan, C.A. et al. (July 2015). Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of Race TKTTF of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici that Caused a Wheat Stem Rust Epidemic in Southern Ethiopia in 2013-14. Phyopathology 105(7): 917-928.


Yang, Xiaohan, …. Owen, N.A., Griffiths, H. et al. (July 2015) A roadmap for research on crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to enhance sustainable food and bioenergy production in a hotter drier world. New Phytologist 207: 491-504.


Pechey, R. & Monsivais, P. (July 2015) Supermarket Choice, Shopping Behavior, Socioeconomic Status, and Food Purchases. American Journal of Preventative Medicine (in press)


Conklin, A.I., Forouhi, N.G., Surtees, P. Wareham, N.J. & Pablo Monsivais. (July 2015) Gender and the double burden of economic and social disadvantages on healthy eating: cross-sectional study of older adults in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort BMC Public Health 2015, 15:692. 


Bailes, E.J., Ollerton J, Pattrick, J.G. & Glover, B.J. (August 2015). How can an understanding of plant–pollinator interactions contribute to global food security? Current Opinion in Plant Biology 26: 72-79.




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

The application portal is now open for the CHRG. 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

Horizon 2020


Forthcoming UK events to promote the 2016 work programme of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 and Challenge 5 

Challenge 2: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy

Challenge 5: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.

Forthcoming calls:


For further information visit funder’s website


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


Newton institutional links grants – Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam British Council (deadline 28 September 2015)
These provide small-scale seed funding for collaborations between the UK and one other country on specific areas linked to the country’s priorities and development needs. Grants are worth between £50,000 and £300,000 over two years and all partner countries must match funding.
Closing date: 28 Sep 15 


Project grants, Conservation, Food and Health Foundation (deadline 1 January 2016)
These support non-profit, non-governmental organisations to build capacity within the developing countries in the fields of conservation, food, and health. The average award amount is US$17,000 and grants rarely exceed US$25,000.