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Can you help deliver a food system to meet the world's rising demand for food?

Proposal calls now open for: ‘Resilience of the UK food system in a global context’
Application deadline: 27 October 2015, 4pm

The challenge

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has predicted that demand for food from a growing population will increase by 38% by 2030 and 60% by 2050*. In future, food supply (including production, processing and distribution) must use the same or less land and fewer inputs, produce less waste and have a lower environmental impact.

The challenge is to deliver a food system which can meet the rising demand for food in ways that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and provide an acceptable, safe and nutritious diet for all. This is in the face of evolving world-wide markets, global climate and demographic changes, and threats posed by pests and diseases. The challenges around increasing resilience of the food system at a national and international level are complex and interconnected, requiring joined up approaches across the food supply chain.

The Global Food Security Programme

The Global Food Security (GFS) Programme has launched a new five-year interdisciplinary programme of research to address a major food security challenge: ‘Resilience of the UK food system in a global context’.

The programme has been co-designed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Defra, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Scottish Government, in partnership with wider stakeholders, and with further support from STFC.


BBSRC, NERC, ESRC are contributing £14M and further contributions are being considered by other GFS partners. Additional optional funding of up to £150K per year is being provided by STFC to provide access to STFC facilities, laboratories and expertise.

Work with high performance computing, materials, remote sensing or robotics?

STFC will consider funding components of projects that could make use of STFC facilities, on a case-by-case basis. It is anticipated that support includes but will not necessarily be limited to:

  • High performance computing: modelling and optimising
  • Facilities: researching processes and materials
  • Remote and in-situ sensing: data, platforms, technologies
  • Robotics and autonomous systems


The programme will integrate biological, environmental and social sciences to support interdisciplinary projects addressing one or more of the following key themes (these are all interlinked and proposals that address aspects of more than one theme are strongly encouraged):

  1. Optimising the productivity, resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems and landscapes
    At the core of this theme is understanding the relationship and trade-offs between resilience, sustainability to deliver production systems balancing the provision of food with other ecosystem services. This will help address the challenge of feeding a growing population sustainably; ensuring improved environmental, social and economic outcomes.
  2. Optimising resilience of food supply chains locally and globally
    This theme is focused on understanding the economic, environmental, biological and social factors affecting the food supply chain, and the interplay between these, to increase resilience of the food system at a local-to-global level.
  3. Influencing food choice for health, sustainability and resilience at the individual and household level
    Central to this theme is understanding the drivers behind food choices and how these impact on the wider food system and production, in order to identify interventions that result in in provision of nutritious and sustainable food in more resilient and equitable ways.

How to apply

Full guidance can be found in the call text on BBSRC’s webpage:

The deadline for all applications is 27 October 2015, 4pm.

Further information

For further information, please visit the call website:


Food System Resilience Call (PDF - 495KB)


For more information about STFC funding for this project, please contact:

Geoffrey McBride
STFC Futures Programme
Science & Technology Facilities Council
Tel: 07899 063899

Katharine Hollinshead
STFC Global Challenge Programme
Tel: 01793 442068

Last updated: 11 March 2016


Science and Technology Facilities Council
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