Successful funding of the four ‘Transforming UK food systems’ research consortia announced by UKRI
A MULTI- MILLION pound package of funding has been announced today for a series of research projects involving Yorkshire academics which are aimed at transforming food supplies.
The five- year programme will look at wide- ranging issues including obesity, sustainable agriculture and global warming and aims to provide a radical new approach for the UK’s food systems.
A total of £ 24m has been allocated to four projects by the UK Research and Innovation’s ( UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund, including two initiatives which are being led by academics from Yorkshire universities.
Professor Guy Poppy, the programme director from the UKRI, said: “Never before has the role that the food system plays in both environmental and human health been so centre stage.
“Major issues facing humanity such as addressing climate change and building back better post- Covid will be essential in improving health and well- being.
“I am really excited by the ambitious and transformative projects we have selected for funding – every single person in the UK could benefit from this research.
“We will ensure that the best evidence is generated to answer and offer solutions to the questions which matter and the decisions which need to be made in transforming the UK food system.”
Among the studies to receive funding is a project being led by Professor Bob Doherty, from the University of York, which will look at interventions in food retailing and farming to address issues such as childhood obesity, sustainability in agriculture and global warming.
The project will also involve researchers from five other universities including Leeds, Manchester, City, Oxford and Cranfield in Bedfordshire, and 22 partner organisations.
Prof Doherty said: “The research will involve a set of innovative interventions in Yorkshire schools and nurseries to change food environments and menus, scaling up new community businesses, new models of regenerative farming, new measures and new policies.
“Working with our national and international partners, we will catapult our transformations beyond Yorkshire to impact the broader UK food system.”
Another project is being led by Professor Peter Jackson, codirector of the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield, and will focus on the links between soil quality and how it can improve food and subsequently people’s health.
It will also involve academics from Leeds, Bristol, Cambridge and City universities and a wide range of stakeholders from the Government to the business sector.
Prof Jackson said: “This is an exciting, once- in- a- lifetime, opportunity to use cutting- edge research to have a genuinely transformative effect on the health and sustainability of the UK’s food system.”
Another study which has been allocated funding involves research led by the University of Reading into healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities.
The fourth project to be given funding will look at making food supplies in urban areas more sustainable, and will be led by the University of Cambridge.
The UKRI, which is a non- departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was launched in April 2018 to support research at universities and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
We will catapult our transformations beyond Yorkshire. Professor Bob Doherty, from the University of York.