August 2, 2018, by Lexi Earl

Welcome to the Future Food Blog!

Welcome to the Future Food Beacon Blog!

This blog is where we will be writing about the research, activities, and events of the Future Food Beacon research cluster. The Future Food Beacon is one of six Beacons of Excellence that the University of Nottingham is investing in, in order to respond to a variety of global challenges.

By 2050, there will be an additional 2 billion people on the planet. Currently, 815 million people are chronically undernourished worldwide, while 680 million are obese.  Coupled with the challenge of feeding a global population of nearly 10 billion nutritiously, are changes to the climate, rapid urbanisation, and social inequality. This growing global population will need sufficient calories and essential nutrients derived sustainably from innovative food systems. Food decisions are complex, influenced not only by production methods and quality, but also by cultural and historical influences, personal choice, access, and taste.

The Future Food Beacon brings together the power of genome-enabled plant and animal sciences with cutting edge nutritional science, food processing, and manufacturing and digital technologies, informed by an understanding of the economic, legal, social and ethical issues that underpin and shape food systems.

The Future Food Beacon is targeting six of the major challenges to ensure global food security:

  • Soil challenges: reducing soil erosion and improving soil fertility
  • Water challenges: improving water conservation through crop resilience and irrigation systems
  • Production challenges: maximising yields, stabilising yields in the face of climate uncertainty, minimising waste and improving access
  • Nutrition challenges: improving the nutrient density of staple and processed foods
  • Protein challenges: providing alternative and palatable proteins for human and animal diets
  • Climate challenges: developing robust food systems that are able to cope with climate uncertainty

The Future Food Beacon researchers will develop solutions to these challenges, working with practitioners and policymakers, through two key research strategies: Improving Agricultural Resilience and Enhancing Nutrition for Health and Healthy Aging.

To achieve these ambitions, The Future Food Beacon is investing in both people and technologies. New appointments in key areas of informatics, evolutionary and functional genomics, genome-enabled breeding, phenomics, plant microbiome, crop molecular genetics, predictive modelling, computer vision, sensory science, and human nutrition will strengthen critical scientific expertise within the University. Pioneering funding schemes, like the Innovation Challenge, have brought together over 160 stakeholders from across multiple disciplines and the commercial sector to generate inventive interdisciplinary research projects addressing our two key research strategy areas. The Graduate Centre for International Agriculture (GCIA) is a joint initiative between The Future Food Beacon and Rothamsted Research to develop world-leading research in the field of International Agricultural Development.

The Future Food Beacon is capitalising on cutting-edge technologies to enable researchers across a wide array of disciplines to make important scientific leaps. The Future Food Beacon is investing in increased digital capability, genomics equipment, facilities for animal and plant phenotyping, and new equipment to characterise the nutritional content and physical properties of food. This will best equip our researchers to make ground-breaking scientific discoveries.

With our colleagues at the UNMC & UNNC we are investing in developing sustainable partnerships in China, Brazil and Africa to build an international platform to allow the Future Food Beacon to truly deliver global impact.

This blog will keep you updated and informed of the discoveries we make, the people with whom we work, the activities of our researchers, and most importantly the people’s lives we positively impact across the supply chain from growing, preparing and accessing high quality and nutritious foods.

Posted in Food ResearchFuture Food News