Healthy soil, Healthy food, Healthy people (H3)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Geography


Bringing together world-class researchers from Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Cambridge and City Universities, this proposal seeks to transform the UK food system 'from the ground up' via an integrated programme of interdisciplinary research on healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people (H3). The H3 Consortium addresses the links between food production and consumption and takes a whole systems approach to identify workable paths towards a transformed UK food system, delivered via a series of interventions: on farm, in food manufacturing, distribution and retail, and in terms of the health implications and inequalities associated with food consumption in UK homes and communities.

The proposed research addresses all of the UK government policy drivers outlined in the Call text from diet-related ill health to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, from biodiversity to soil health and water quality, rebuilding trust in the food system, promoting clean growth and supporting the translation of scientific research and new technologies for the benefit of the UK economy and society.

Our approach is thoroughly interdisciplinary, combining world-class soil and plant scientists, health researchers, economists and social scientists The research team have many years' experience of working together, leading interdisciplinary research centres, co-supervising PhD students and collaborating on numerous research projects including the N8 agri-food programme.

We take an integrated approach to the agri-food system, recognizing its inherent complexity and addressing the governance challenges that arise from the rapidly changing regulatory landscape.

Our proposed research involves six interconnected work-packages. The first advances novel growing technologies via fundamental research into agricultural practices that have the potential to transform the quality of food we grow while minimising its environmental impact. The second aims to combine hydroponic and conventional soil-based agriculture, creating a linked network of hybrid demonstrator farms in peri-urban areas to encourage improvements in dietary health and environmental sustainability. The third extends these ideas to the landscape scale, evaluating the benefits of regenerative agriculture in terms of reduced fertiliser and pesticide use and increased food quality. The fourth addresses the key public health challenges of micro-nutrient deficiency through the application of state of the art methods of biofortification, enhancing the nutritional value of foods that are already part of established UK diets. The fifth seeks to increase the consumption of fibre with its attendant health and sustainability benefits, based on lessons learnt from the Danish wholegrain partnership; while the sixth seeks to increase food system resilience to economic, health and environmental shocks through collaborative research with retailers and consumers. Three cross-cutting themes (CCTs) provide further integration across the work-packages. The first focuses on the application of integrative methods such as LCA and scenario-building approaches to assess the environmental, social and economic impact of different interventions and policy options. The second focuses on issues of consumer demand, public acceptability and affordability; while the third ensures that stakeholder involvement features consistently throughout the programme, with a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact within and beyond the five-year funding period.

The H3 Consortium is led by Professors Peter Jackson and Duncan Cameron who co-direct the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield. They are joined by a core team, comprising the work-package and CCT leaders, a wider group of co-investigators and PDRAs, and an experienced business development manager, focused on maximising the impact of our research in government, business and civil society.



Peter Jackson (Principal Investigator) orcid
Duncan Cameron (Co-Investigator)
Alan Mackie (Co-Investigator) orcid
Tim Daniell (Co-Investigator)
Clare Louise Lawton (Co-Investigator) orcid
Bernard Michael Corfe (Co-Investigator)
Siau Ching Lenny Koh (Co-Investigator)
Sue Hartley (Co-Investigator)
Samantha Caton (Co-Investigator)
Louise Dye (Co-Investigator)
William Young (Co-Investigator)
Anna Krzywoszynska (Co-Investigator) orcid
Lynn Dicks (Co-Investigator)
Jurriaan Ton (Co-Investigator) orcid
Stephen Rolfe (Co-Investigator)
Peter Ho (Co-Investigator)
Jonathan Leake (Co-Investigator) orcid
Jill Louise Edmondson (Co-Investigator)
Christian Reynolds (Co-Investigator) orcid
GULBANU KAPTAN (Co-Investigator) orcid
David Evans (Co-Investigator)
Anthony John Ryan (Co-Investigator) orcid
Anne Marie Tallontire (Co-Investigator) orcid
Sonal Choudhary (Co-Investigator)
Bhavani Shankar (Co-Investigator)
Phani Kumar Chintakayala (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid
Neil Bernard Boyle (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid
Megan Lewis (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Katie Adolphus (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid


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