Research and Training – Food Systems SPF

Research & Training funded under the Transforming UK Food Systems SPF Programme.

The UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (UKFS-CDT)

The UKFS-CDT aims to develop the next generation of food system change makers for a healthy and sustainable food future.

From 2021 through to 2027, the UKFS-CDT will train over 60 interdisciplinary doctoral researchers capable of leading the UK towards a resilient, healthy and inclusive food future, with the first cohort starting in autumn of 2021.

Find out more here.

Projects funded under Call 1:

Four interdisciplinary research projects have received funding through the first funding call in the Transforming UK Food Systems Programme. These five-year programmes are multi-centre, interdisciplinary and bring together the different parts of the food system. They will address issues such as obesity, sustainable agriculture and global warming.

Download summaries of the projects funded under Call 1 (PDF, 1.6MB)

The projects to receive funding are:

  • FixOurFood
  • Healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people (H3)
  • Co-production of healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities
  • Transforming urban food systems for planetary and population health (The Mandala Consortium)
FixOurFood, Professor Bob Doherty, University of York

A vision for a Yorkshire food system constituting regenerative and equitable healthy eating for young children, supported by regenerative hybrid food economies and regenerative farming.

This project will look at interventions in food retailing and farming to address issues such as childhood obesity, sustainability in agriculture and global warming.

Healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people (H3), Professor Peter Jackson, co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Food, University of Sheffield

Bringing together world-class researchers from Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Cambridge and City universities, this project seeks to transform the UK food system ‘from the ground up.’

It will use an integrated programme of interdisciplinary research on healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people (H3).

The project will:

  • evaluate and refine regenerative agriculture measures to protect and restore soil health
  • use innovative methods such as hydroponics and biofortification
  • consider consumer demand, public acceptability and affordability.
Co-production of healthy, sustainable food systems for disadvantaged communities, Professor Carol Wagstaff, University of Reading

Preliminary work has shown that people living in disadvantaged communities have the desire to eat a healthier diet and are aware that good nutrition is closely linked to good physical and mental health.

This project will focus on sharing knowledge and learning from working with:

  • people from a variety of disadvantaged communities
    • Whitley-Reading
    • Brighton & Hove
    • Tower Hamlets
    • Plymouth
  • small and large food businesses
  • policy-makers.

This will help develop solutions that will provide people living in disadvantaged communities with improved access to fresher food and a balance of desirable, sustainable, affordable and healthy products.

It will identify opportunities to prevent food loss from ‘mainstream’ supply chains and identify where increased sustainable production of primary food ingredients is needed.

Transforming urban food systems for planetary and population health (The Mandala Consortium), led by Professor Martin White, Professor of Population Health Research in the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge

Focusing on the city of Birmingham, this consortium brings together internationally renowned teams from the universities in:

  • Cambridge
  • Birmingham
  • Warwick
  • Exeter
  • London.

It aims to transform the urban food system and its relationship with its regional economy in the West Midlands.

Mapping of the local food system will determine the most powerful levers for system change. These are likely to include new ways of procuring healthier and more sustainable foods in the public sector, and developing online systems to help businesses find and use more locally grown food.

Interventions will be evaluated to demonstrate how food can be made healthier, more affordable and less harmful to the environment, but still profitable.