MillNET_i: Millets and Nutritional Enhancement Traits for Iron bioavailability

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Plant Sciences

Abstract

Iron deficiency remains the most prevalent nutritional deficiency worldwide, affecting an estimated 4 to 6 billion people. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the largest nutritional deficiency disorder in the world and one of the five leading causes of global disease burden. At any given moment, more individuals suffer from IDA than any other health problem with a staggering 1.24 billion affected individuals worldwide.

In developing countries, millets are the most common form of cereals, often cultivated by female small holders in semi-arid tropic regions. Their resistance to drought and climate variability, along with nutrient dense characteristics, is attracting an increasing number of small scale farmers and governments in Sub Saharan Africa. While the nutritional value of millets has been identified, there has been limited progress on the creation of functional foods that are readily acceptable to populations. Biofortification of millets is also an emerging area research for enhancing nutritional quality.
The goals of the two-year MillNETi are to tackle the major issue of iron bioavailability (relative to biofortification) by promoting the use and preparation of pearl and finger millets, initially in Ethiopia and The Gambia, but of wider relevance for many semi-arid regions of Africa. The programme has been co-created with colleagues in India, Ethiopia and The Gambia, and a consortium of UK expertise and will undertake fundamental scientific investigations for the GROWTH, PROCESSING and monitoring of iron BIOAVAILABILTY, allied to social science methodologies to disseminate knowledge and improved practices in cultivation and food preparation (EXTENSION) to regional populations. The programme builds on an existing programme of biofortification (ICRISAT), bioavailability testing (MRC- Gambia), and social science studies indicating that rural - urban migration is creating a demand for more nutritious foods such as millets both in The Gambia and Ethiopia.

We will explore the basis of variation in crop iron uptake and availability traits in millets from contrasting regions and cropping practices (GROWTH: NIAB, UCAM, ICRISAT, EIAR). Additional research in Ethiopia on food preparation and processing (PROCESSING: BDU, ICRISAT, UCAM, MRC-Gambia) will be linked with a programme of internationally-validated human nutrition intervention studies (BIOAVAILABILITY: MRC-Gambia, UCAM), analysing plasma bioavailability of iron in healthy adult female representatives from local populations. As well as outreach to improve the nutrition and health of rural communities (EXTENSION (CGE/JeCCDO, BDU, UCAM: CGC, GFS IRC, CAPREX) additional insights from MillNETi on rural-urban linkages will be associated with the practice of food remitting, and potential role in food security, improved nutritional status and marketing opportunities for rural populations. These highly original observations will be of international significance for many populations in Africa and India, where the rural-urban divide represents a complex and interlinked reality of 'stretched' or 'multi-nodal' households.

Technical Summary

Iron deficiency is a major contributor to ill-health, premature death and lost earnings in developing countries. Studies suggest an odds ratio of nought point eight for maternal mortality for each 1 g/dL increase in mean haemoglobin in late pregnancy. The originality of the scientific programme lies in comparing the BIOFORTIFICATION traits in targeted finger and pearl millet varieties which could alleviate this problem, relative to the BIOAVAILABILTY associated with human digestive recovery from contrasting methods of food preparation.

The first biofortified pearl millet open pollinated variety, Chakti, was developed at ICRISAT, through HarvestPlus with iron and zinc 50% higher than any commonly grown varieties. Work will be undertaken (UCAM, NIAB, ICRISAT) to trial varieties under contrasting cropping systems, and identify the genetic basis to grain biofortification in key lines.
Human nutrition intervention studies of iron uptake by females consuming biofortified millet dietary preparations will monitor and sample plasma specimens from human volunteers, at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, Keneba laboratories. The increase in serum iron following a single meal will be used as a measure of iron absorption and bioavailability.

Women are central to developing sustainable cropping systems, whether directly through farming activities or indirectly via community exchanges during food preparation. The study (led by Centre for Development Studies and NIAB) will explore fermented food use and opportunities for improved nutrition and well-being among rural and peri-urban populations in Ethiopia and the Gambia.The Centre for Global Equality (in partnership with JeCCDO) will facilitate outreach and extension for rural and urban communities in Ethiopia, and via CAPREX in the Gambia. Additional resources targeted for outreach and impact for early career researcher exchanges, engagement via workshops and outreach activities.

Planned Impact

1. The growing population of Ethiopia and the Gambia, in both rural and urban communities, and more generally in semi-arid regions of the Global South. Specifically, female health and wellbeing will be improved by knowledge dissemination and acceptability of more nutritious millet preparations, distributed equitably and future-proofed to meet rising demand under changing societal and environmental conditions.
2. Saving Lives of reproductively active females and improving the health and eventual productivity of subsequent generations: by helping to alleviate the staggering health and mortality statistics associated with iron micronutrient deprivation, and by changing perceptions about the value of diverse food sources and their best means of preparation to maximise iron bioavailability.
3. Farmers and farming communities in Ethiopia and The Gambia: who will be reached through the project's translation and outreach programme, using the extensive networks in place through our collaborating Institutes, Universities and Third Sector Organisations. The work aims particularly to empower female farmers, and drive equal opportunities to take up the new practices that will deliver resilient food production systems that generate markets for millet and hence wealth and opportunities for the agricultural community;
4. Collaborators involved in the GCRF/BBSRC Grow Call TIGR2ESS BB/P027970/1 where a parallel programme is being undertaken in collaboration with ICRISAT and partners throughout India to improve cropping resilience and micronutrient content in millets, with an additional Fellowship programme to be announced which will appoint 16 Postdoctoral researchers to complement and draw on the work being done in MillNETi.
5. Policy-makers involved in taking biofortified orphan crops and improving micronutrient bioavailability: to instigate effective policy for change for the more widespread use of resilient crops such as millets, and recognise the interactions between rural and urban communities, such as food remittance.
6. Academic researchers who can now translate fundamental science of crop improvement and micronutrient biofortification and relate to bioavailability of processed foodstuffs: career opportunities enhanced directly by research opportunities and indirectly by outreach and engagement across the entire programme
7. The wider research communities in the participating Universities and research institutes: through involvement in project, participants have access to their collaborators' wider research networks and groups, for example the University of Cambridge's Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre (GFS IRC), the Centre for Global Challenges (CGC), and Cambridge Africa programme (CAPREX). By participation of PDRAs and senior academics in research exchanges and workshops, building interdisciplinary research capacity for the future across Africa and the UK;
8. The international fundamental and applied research communities: collaborators will publish results in high-impact journals in a timely fashion using open access, and present research results at international meetings and institutions in order to widely disseminate information
9. Agro-industry and national crop breeding institutes such as NARES and HarvestPlus to share improved germplasm to stimulate markets and rural entrepreneurship.
10. The general public and food security outreach: the project will have wide educational value and represents an opportunity to draw more young people into scientific careers. Cambridge University has regular opportunities to engage with non-academic audiences eg. local interest groups and schools, science showcases, media, through programmes delivered by the Office of External Affairs and Communications, and organised through programmes delivered by the Office of External Affairs and Communications, and organised through GFS IRC, CGC and CAPREX.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have been able to leverage connections and contacts from both TIGR2ESS and MillNETi to foster South-South links for knowledge exchange, and potential future projects. This was kickstarted with Hirut Assaye Cherie and Helen Walle from Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia, travelling to ICRISAT, India, for the TIGR2ESS General Assembly in January 2020, where they met a number of Indian partners and shared knowledge and ideas for future projects. BDU are particularly interested in developing novel millet products to kickstart entrepreneurial projects, and so they were particularly inspired by the wide range of millet products and entrepreneurial schemes around millets that are developing out of ICRISAT. There we also met with Rebecca Fairbairn of UKRI India who encouraged further development of these South-South connections. Subsequent meetings between partners, and between the management team and DFID India, have continued to set the groundwork for South-South connections between MillNETi and TIGR2ESS partners, and we are hopeful that these will lead to future workshops, entrepreneurial exchanges and project proposals.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Gambian National Task Force on Food Fortification
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact This committee is guiding the implementation of food fortification regulations and standardization in The Gambia.
 
Description Participation in Strategic Advisory Group Meeting for GCRF
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Shaping the strategy for use of fundamental research to strengthen capacity for undertaking research relevant in a Development context for many international countries and within the UK
URL https://www.ukri.org/research/global-challenges-research-fund/strategic-advisory-group/
 
Description Participation in a scientific discussion on national and international radio science programme
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Discussion of key topical area for Naked Scientist radio programme Naked_Scientists_Show_18.05.29_chap8-9-1 5:56 0 1
URL https://www.thenakedscientists.com/
 
Description Presentation to RBG Kew Trustees
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Advice on linking primary research and translational activities in the development sphere
 
Description Improving off-grid energy and water access through innovative passive-thermal technologies
Amount £232,568 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 04/2021
 
Description Tackling global development challenges through physical sciences research
Amount £938,246 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/T02030X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 04/2022
 
Description Travel funding for TIGR2ESS General Assembly - for Hirut Assaye and Helen Walle
Amount £2,496 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 01/2020
 
Title Survey methods for mapping agricultural production and consumption to understand sustainability challenges 
Description Our framework needs to facilitate the answering of our research questions through a clear delineation of: - production methods - trading methods - processing methods The survey methods have been devised by Dr. Sidebottom (production and consumption) and Dr. Dazell (nutrition) 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact the importance of this research tool lies in its ability to link production, trading and processing methods to understand the possibility of upscaling and diversification of millets production in semi-arid regions in Africa. These methods can also be transposed to other semi-arid regions in conjunction with the regional research stations of the ICRISAT. 
 
Title Creation of millets production and consumption data sets for communities in Gambia and Ethiopia 
Description This is the first household database of millets production and consumption by community in both field-sites (Gambia and Ethiopia). The data has been collected using the methodology developed Dr. David Clark, that emphasises the importance of participatory methods to understand the livelihoods and lives of communities in low-resource environments. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This will be a valuable starting point (baseline) for subsequent research on millet production, processing and trade in both West and East Africa. 
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation Bahir Dar University
Country Ethiopia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation Centre for Global Equality
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Country India 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation King's College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation National Institute of Agronomy and Botany (NIAB)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description MillNET_i Collaborators 
Organisation Rothamsted Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution All Institutions are parties on the MillNETi collaboration agreement
Collaborator Contribution All partners perform research activities as stipulated in the agreement.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Network meeting on sustainable agriculture with the project, Agri-Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship, at Leeds Beckett University. 
Organisation Leeds Beckett University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The creation of a Special Interest Group to discuss findings on our respective research projects. The workshop at Leeds Beckett University begins a possibility of further technology led collaborations to advance sustainable agriculture in India. Dr. Fennell was invited to speak about how her previous UGC-UKIERI grant for a collaborative research initiative, in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University, and the Indian partners were the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and University of Punjab, Chandigarh for 2014-16, led to the broader TIGR2ESS programme. This project focussed on understanding how bottlenecks that limit Internet access for rural agricultural production and community-based tourism can be removed, using the Portolan application and android mobile phones, to collect upstream data and an innovative survey instrument to collect downstream data.
Collaborator Contribution Understanding how food gets from the farm to the shop and our plates is an integral part of global food security. However, agri-business is not seen as an attractive sector for entrepreneurship. The collaborators at Leeds Beckett University, provided information on their research In India, where despite developmental policies aimed at providing employment to millions of unemployed rural youth, the core problem remains of surplus agricultural labour and closure of traditional village industries. In the UK, with farming seen as one of the least entrepreneurial sectors, there is increasing attention on high-tech agriculture so farmers can seize opportunities and compete with larger firms. Their project is to make valuable new contributions to the practice of agri-food innovation and enterprise development by conducting a comparative analysis of India and the UK. This project is funded by UKIERI (British Council and UGC India)
Impact Creation of a Special Interest Group on Sustainable Agriculture in India, which goes across engineering, science and social sciences.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Sarah Stolarz BBC world service, Food chain podcast producer interviewed Dr. Sarah Dalzell 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The producer was exploring exploring ideas to put together a new podcast series on how society's view of food has been influenced by nutrition science. Will likely lead to a formal interview which she will use in the podcast but that will be a future meeting. Dr. Dalzell was able to share about MillNETi and what we are doing in FP3 trying to understand the broader context of millet production, processing consumption.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Blog post about visit to ICRISAT 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact After joining the TIGR2ESS (sister project) General Assembly at ICRISAT, Hirut and Helen (project partners from Bahir Dar University) wrote a blog about their experience and learnings that was posted on the TIGR2ESS website. The blog was widely publicised on social media and in the newsletters of TIGR2ESS and the Department of Plant Sciences, Uni of Cambridge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://tigr2ess.globalfood.cam.ac.uk/news/eye-opening-experience-icrisat-thanks-tigr2ess
 
Description Cambridge-Africa presentation at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk by Amit Bhasin, Cambridge-Africa. 18th February 2020 @ The Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa.

AHRI's research activities cover basic (immunology and molecular biology), epidemiological and translational research and it is part of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. Amit spoke about Cambridge-Africa and the initiatives they are involved in, including MillNETi, to an audience of 9 research scientists and students. The purpose of the visit was to discuss training needs for bioinformatics as they have a newly established sequencing lab. May offer in the future potential for the first access (with NIADIC) to sequencing facilities in Ethiopia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Communication of Research Framework in graduate teaching 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The research methodology for undertaking household data collection, and existing secondary data sets were converted into case studies teaching material for the M.Phil courses in Development Studies and Land Economy (course taught by Fennell, Sidebottom and Lichtenstein)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description FP6 Radio Interview with Dr Shailaja Fennell with Cambridge 105 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Fennell was interviewed by Cambridge 105 Breakfast show on 24th Sep 2019. She spoke about sustainable food, and the GCRF awards for the TIGR2ESS and MillNETi programmes. The interview was linked to a planned public panel discussion as part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas, to be held on 26th Oct (reported separately).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk/events/supergrains-super-they-could-be
 
Description Feature in Bahir Dar University newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Collaborator Dr Hirut Cherie Assaye (at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia) featured information about the MillNETi project, and a write up of her trip to India with MillNETi, in her departmental newsletter. This was widely publicised across the department.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Food, Heritage and Community, 2nd global conference, Prague, summer 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The central focus of the paper was on the adverse consequences of the orphaning of the group of cereals termed 'millets' collected in the late 1990s for addressing the food needs of the most marginalised groups. Furthermore, as there are a wide range of millets that are grown in semi-arid communities, in both Africa and South Asia, it offers an opportunity to bring women back into the labour market through focussing on a greater production of millets in these communities. This paper contributes to the session through demonstrating that sometimes it is the lack of appreciation or appropriation of food practices, rather than their positive uptake, that can be detrimental to affected cultures.

There were a number of discussions on traditional cereals and heritage and the author has since been invited to meetings with organisations working with the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre (such as National Trust and English Heritage, UK)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Health and Fitness demonstrations for local Gambian Schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I did a demonstration on healthy eating and prevention of anaemia to children ages 7-18. The demonstration was filmed and broadcast on Gambian TV station (GRTS).
100 pupils attended the event which was held at the Banjul American International school. Other presentations/demonstrations included information on fitness, vaccines and water sanitation and hygiene.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Janneke Balk visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Hosted visit from Janneke Balk (JIC) to discuss collaboration on Fe research and to understand opportunities for value-addition with her current work on bioavailability. Outcome: shared literature and resources of use in MillNETi project. Open to future discussion of synergies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Local Radio Programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact What action do we need to take to save the planet? And, how do we get everyone on board? It's one of the questions at the Festival of Ideas next month - tickets for which were released on Monday. One idea is to change what we eat. Dr Shailaja Fennell, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, Department of Land Economy, says one option is supergrains. She spoke to Julian & Lucy of Cambridge 105 Radio.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://cambridge105.co.uk/breakfast-24-09-2019/
 
Description Meeting with DFID India, Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Howard Griffiths and Joanna Wolstenholme met with a team from DFID India who were visiting Cambridge on 6th March 2020. We discussed the MillNETi project, and how we were interested to develop South-South connections This matched with the DFID India team's interest in funding Indian entrepreneurial activities to expend into African countries, and so we will follow up in due course to discuss work together.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Meeting with Rebecca Fairbairn of UKRI India at ICRISAT Hyderabad 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact During the TIGR2ESS General Assembly at ICRISAT, Hyderabad, in January 2020, members of the TIGR2ESS and MillNETi teams met with Rebecca Fairbairn from UKRI India to discuss how the two projects are working together. As well as the PI and management teams from both programmes, we were joined by Dr Gita Yadav and Dr Cameron Petrie (senior academics on TIGR2ESS) as well as Dr Hirut Assaye and Helen Walle (Ethiopian members of the MIllNETi team who were joining the TIGR2ESS General Assembly).

From this meeting it became clear that UKRI supported and endorsed our policy of integrating the two programmes and encouraging South-South interactions and learnings. Ms Fairbairn was interested to hear from Hirut and Helen about the work they were doing for MillNETi at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia, as well as what they had learnt during their week in India. This meeting has encouraged us to pursue and facilitate further South-South linkages between the two programmes as well as between other Indian and African institutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Member. Gambian National Alliance for Food Fortification. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This is a committee made up of representatives from:
The Food and Agriculture Organization, The World Food Programme, UNICEF, Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and Gambian National Nutrition Agency.
The purpose is to guide and advise on technical issues related to food fortification in The Gambia.
Dr Cerami contributes advice and expertise on anaemia, iron deficiency, iron fortification and iron supplementation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Member. USAID Anemia Task Force, USAID Advancing Nutrition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The USAID Anemia Task Force is the primary advisory body for USAID Advancing Nutrition on its micronutrient investments and activities;
The Task Force helps to improve what USAID and other institutions consider that: a) anaemia is more than iron-deficiency; b) Look beyond treatment with IFA supplementation and/or iron-fortification of flours; and, c) explore whether anaemia/haemoglobin is to be considered a biomarker or a reflection of its multifactorial aetiology;
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.advancingnutrition.org
 
Description MillNETi at NIAB Stand at the Royal Norfolk Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ** Added on behalf of Lydia Smith, NIAB. ** Royal Norfolk show two day event held every year - this featured an item covering the Millneti project in each of the last two years; 2018 and 2019 (though the 2018 may have been just in advance of the project starting). We featured a range of millet products and bags of grain together with actual growing plants. This enabled the participants - which were an equal mix of the general public and farmers - to discuss the needs and outcomes of the project. We were able to discuss growing methods and possible nutritional outcomes with the public and to publicise the work that is funded by the GCRF fund. Outcomes were positive discussion, consideration of different preparation options - a vital component of the nutritional considerations in the project and a wish to learn more about it - which was facilitated by directing people to the project webpage. These events occurred in July and ran for two days.

Reaching a mix of the public, farmers, industry, school children (several groups came round) and some researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://royalnorfolkshow.rnaa.org.uk/
 
Description MillNet-I presentation at the NNedPro meeting in July 2019 (by Dr. Sarah Dalzell) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NNedPro annual meeting (a partner organisation on the sister TIGR2ESS project)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Millet Plants at Innovation Farm 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact ** Added on behalf of Lydia Smith, from NIAB. ** NIAB innovation farm in Cambridge featured millet plants that were introduced to a number of visiting groups over the course of 2019. This will be repeated for more in 2020. Participants were told about the anticipated outcomes of the project in small study groups of approximately 3x 25 participants on each of two open days. An additional set of 4 groups of 30-45 participants from China, Japan, and Spain were also conducted round the demonstration. These events occurred in June 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.niab.com/shop/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=2920
 
Description Next Einstein Science Week, Niger public engagement activities. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Next Einstein Africa Science week is a public engagement
Abdou Moumoni University Niger, and ICRISAT, Sahel Region (Sadore station) Niger were brought together by the Next Einstein Ambassador, Halimatou Hima Moussa Dioula and Dr. Shailaja Fennell University of Cambridge for a day long engagement on the potential of millet production in ensuring food sustainability in the Sahel region.
This was supported by the Next Einstein Initiative undergraduate student team at the University.
The following day there was a science extension event in the a local school, College Mariamma, Niamey (the school where Halima has been a scholar when she was a student in Niamey) with demonstration classes and lectures across the school for the entire day, alongside with these undergraduate and graduate volunteers of the Africa Science Week.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://twitter.com/aswniger
 
Description Nick Fradgley visit to Ethiopia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact University of Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative Early Career travel funding awarded to Nick Fradgley to visit collaborator (Tilahun Amede at ICRISAT) and possible value-adding partners at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. Visit to field trials and discussion with PhD students to understand future training requirements (October 2019). Information used to assist in the co-design of MillNETi project experiments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description OUtreach engagement with school pupils and raising aspirations for university applications 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentations at host university as well as visits to individual schools to raise awareness of educational opportunities and introduce framework for research support informing teaching and learning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Oxford Brookes seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited seminar at Oxford Brookes University "Bridging the gap - resources and applied research underpinning crop improvement" (28/11/19) including a full day of discussions on opportunities for collaboration. Including potential plans for value-added collaboration on grain imaging for micronutrients (MillNETi) and root system architecture (CINTRIN)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participation in conference associated with art and science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Particpation in various discussions on food security, health and nutrition; also invited speaker for international symposium on pineapple (Power, Promise, Politics: The Pineapple from Columbus to Del Monte)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/28582
 
Description Participation in science discussions for national and international radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Regular particpant in panel discussions and also contributor to informed scientific debate about specific items (Podcasts) on food security and plant science issues
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://www.thenakedscientists.com/
 
Description Summary presentation at Department of Plant Sciences Away Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Joanna Wolstenholme (Programme Manager) presented a summary of the MillNETi research activities at th Department of Plant Sciences (University of Cambridge) Away Day. The audience was approximately 80 postgraduates, postdocs and academics. The talk resulted in greater awareness of the research project within the department, and discussions with colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Supergrains: Are they super as they could be? Festival of Ideas Event, Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Are you trying to eat more 'super grains', like quinoa and millet? Have you considered the impact of your dietary decisions on the Global South? Join us for a panel discussion on the knotty issue of food sustainability - looking at how changes in what we eat affects our health, global and local economies, and the natural world.

The shift towards healthier grains is happening globally, and there are many far reaching repercussions from these shifts. How do we ensure that these dietary changes are truly equitable - does everyone see them as supergrains or is there a stigma against eating 'hungry rice'? What additional growing and processing facilities may be needed, and how does demand effect the price landscape?

Our cross-disciplinary panel (Dr. Shailaja Fennell, Dr. Richard Sidebottom, Dr. Sarah Dalzell from MillNet_i and Professor K. Narayanan of TIGr2ESS) pulled together examples from their research in India, Ethiopia, The Gambia and Senegal, showing how shifting diets affect and are affected by different processing systems, social trends and economic constraints. Millet and quinoa have made it to the UK, but what other healthy grains may be about to appear on our shelves, and what is growing in popularity elsewhere in the world?

There were 50 members in the audience, both academics, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-doctoral scholars, as well as local community members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk/events/supergrains-super-they-could-be
 
Description Supergrains: As super as they could be? Panel discussion at the Festival of Ideas 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 70 members of the general public attended a panel discussion given by Dr Sarah Dalzell, Dr Shailaja Fennell and Dr Richard Sidebottom, chaired by Prof K Narayan (from EIT Bombay). The discussion was focused around the sustainability and health impacts of 'supergrains' and whole foods, partially inspired by work done on the MillNETi and TIGR2ESS projects. Positive verbal feedback was given from members of the public, and the talk also acted as a catalyst for re-engaging potential research partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk/events/supergrains-super-they-could-be
 
Description Talk by Cambridge-Africa at National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Center (NAHDIC), Addis Ababa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk by Amit Bhasin, Cambridge-Africa. 19th Feb 2020 @ National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Center (NAHDIC) - national referral and reference laboratory for animal health. 8 staff in attendance being a mix of researchers and students. Amit presented about Cambridge-Africa and the initiatives they are involved in, including MillNETi.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Twitter account 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Started a Twitter account, where we will post updates of activities from the project. Expect the follower count to grow over time, as more material is posted. Hope to encourage engagement with other institutions and research projects, and also give the general public an insight into the research methods which we are using.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://twitter.com/MillNETi
 
Description Varsity Switchboard podcast on Veganuary, February 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Switchboard speaks to Galia Shomron, the Vice President of the Cambridge University Vegan Society; Dr Shailaja Fennell, one of the members of the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment; and Jess Molyneux, a participant in Veganuary 2020. We discuss the activities of the Cambridge University Vegan Society, the sustainability and benefits of going vegan, the feasibility of vegan lifestyles in developing countries, and the issues surrounding the current state of global agriculture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://player.fm/series/switchboard-2409728/ep-19-veganuary
 
Description Visit to Ethiopia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit to Ethiopia to meet MillNETi project partner Tilahun Amede (ICRISAT) and to meet his team members and colleagues. Discussion of context for the project, including major production challenges for millets. Outcome: planning of project experiments and identification of areas for future collaboration and priorities for staff training and development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description YouTube interview for SmartFoods India 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Programme Manager Joanna Wolstenholme was asked to do a piece to camera explaining MillNETi's research for SmartFoods India - an initiative of ICRISAT (http://www.icrisat.org/smartfood/). This has been posted on the 'smartfood global' YouTube channel, and promoted in their (and our) social media. Cross promotion via another organisation has allowed us to reach new audiences and gain new followers.

SmartFood aims to promote the growth and consumption of millets (as they meet their criteria of being 'Good for you - the planet - the farmer'), and so their team were interested to hear about our research and would like to help us promote our end results. We met with them whilst at ICRISAT, and this may lead to further collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhDiynU8NgE&feature=emb_title