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Consultation launched on future research for food security

27 May 2009

The UK’s biggest funder of agri-food research, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has launched a consultation on future research to tackle the growing but preventable food security crisis.

With an inexorably growing population, global harvests threatened by climate change, the very real threat of exotic and endemic animal disease and with a global economic downturn disrupting the flow of trade, the world faces a growing food security crisis. Research will play a vital role in finding solutions to this challenge and preventing the crisis.

The consultation, on behalf of the UK Research Councils, is seeking views on research relating to the production, supply and consumption of food both for UK needs and more widely in an international context of global food security. The Research Councils have identified topics as potential priorities for future research and the barriers preventing delivery and we are seeking stakeholder views on these.

Responses to the consultation will shape a food security research road map. This will set out the research across a wide range of disciplines that will be needed to address the challenges of ensuring future food security, including both long-term research and work with more immediate impact.

Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research, said: “We need to increase global food supply by 50% by 2030. This consultation is the opportunity for all interested organisations and individuals to comment on the future research we need to deliver this and avoid a growing food security crisis. We are looking for responses to questions that include research targets in food production and supply, ways to ensure knowledge transfer into practical application and public policy and providing the skills and training we need.”

The consultation is open now and will close on 17 July 2009. Further information and the full consultation document is available at:


Notes to editors

The UK Research Councils support research and training in a wide range of disciplines that relate to food security, including biological, environmental, nutritional, economic and social sciences.

Leading scientists, policy makers, funders, farmers, food manufacturers and retailers met at a workshop earlier this year. They identified challenges to delivering sustainable food security and the science we need to meet them. The consultation has been developed following this meeting.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.