STFC Food Security Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

The STFC Food security Network+ brings together food researchers with STFC researchers and facilities to tackle food security challenges.

The SFN activities are divided into three Themes:
Theme 1: Sustainable Food Production. Developing food production systems that maintain healthy soils, reduce impact on the natural environment and provide reliable yield in the face of changing climate.
Theme 2: Resilient Food Supply Chains. Monitoring, modelling and design of food supply chains to enhance resilience, environmental and social benefits, and public health.
Theme 3: Improved Nutrition and Consumer Behaviours. Investigating how best to change consumer behavior to enhance nutrition and health whilst reducing waste and demands on land, energy and water.
Running across each of these themes is existing STFC expertise that can address important research questions within and between the food themes, and catalyse new research activity:
Expertise A: STFC Data Science. Astronomers and particle physicists routinely analyse Tbs of data in large international collaborations which share code and frameworks. This necessitates the use of novel algorithms to sift and/or extract the key information about the Universe.
Expertise B: STFC Technology. STFC researchers routinely push the boundaries of cutting edge technology for building space, CERN and STFC instrumentation e.g. precision engineering of lens systems to a fraction of the thickness of a human hair and hyper-fast and/or sensitive detectors.
Expertise C: STFC Facilities. STFC hosts world-leading beamlines including Diamond synchrotron and ISIS neutron and muon beams, used to determine molecular to subatomic structures. Furthermore, Hartree and UKATC play leading roles in data science and technology.

Network+ Factsheets provide more detail on each of the above topics: more information on the food themes aimed at STFC researchers; more information on STFC capabilities aimed at food researchers. There is a kick-off survey to raise awareness of the network, publicise the factsheets, increase the Membership and identify areas of greatest interest for meetings. The Network+ has a wide and inclusive Membership which is brought together by Annual Network+ Meetings. At these meetings the topics for smaller Sandpits are decided at which STFC and food researchers are brought together to brainstorm ideas for Small Scale Scoping studies. 8 Small Scale Scoping studies will be funded (<8k each) followed by 3 Proof of Concept studies (<40k each) and an Impact Sandpit at which ideas are pitched to a panel including Industry members and stakeholders in a Dragon's Den format.

Planned Impact

The main pathway to impact of the STFC Food Security Network+ (SFN) is to create a network to stimulate collaboration between STFC researchers and food researchers including those in industry, to tackle problems in global food security: (1) Increasing production, (2) Developing the supply chain, and (3) Changing consumer behavior.
There are structures and mechanisms already in place at the Investigator Universities to facilitate impact, including both public and business engagements, and commercialisation. The University of Manchester has a Business Engagement team to assist with industry links and UMIP to support commercialisation. The School of Physics and Astronomy has Dr. Alick Deacon, an STFC IPS Fellow who maintains industrial links and manages impact, Emma Nichols (funded through the Ogden Trust) to support public engagement activities, Dr. Mark Dickinson is the School's Academic Impact Champion, Dr. David Binks as the Schools liaison. There are also the Associate Deans at Faculty level (Lin Li for Business Engagement and Innovation). Sheffield and Liverpool also have IPS Fellows (Aldous Everard and Marco Palumbo, respectively).
Since the main goal of the SFN is to generate new ideas, we cannot be specific in how the impact is demonstrated in each of the three themes, however, we will stipulate that all funded Small Scale Scoping studies and Proof of Concept grants must contain a Pathways to Impact plan and adhere the general policy that all project findings will be made freely available for academic research, and publications should be written up in pertinent high-impact peer reviewed journals and presented at associated conferences.
We will seek to create impact through public engagement via the website, Factsheets, media and social media such as Twitter (three of the Investigators already have a significant following: @sarahbridle and @Katherine_Denby each have >500 followers and @profmarkreed has >3000). We will seek to present at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
We seek to collaborate with industry on the Small Scale Scoping and Proof of Concept studies. So far we have a number of Industrial contacts who have signed the community letter of support including ADAS, Delta-T Devices Ltd and Environment Systems Ltd. Furthermore we are working with people at a number of Industry gateway organisations, with STN Steering Committee members currently at Farming Futures, the Jamie Oliver Foundation, Hartree Center and the Agrimetrics center and with supporters from NIAB, NFU (National Farmers Union), N8 and IAgrE. As well as advertising the Annual Meetings through our website and Factsheets, we will work with N8 partners and the STFC to raise awareness of the annual meetings through the partners' institutions.
We will encourage the ideas arising from the SFN to reach industry through the contacts made at our meetings and also through the final "Impact Sandpit" which will culminate in a Dragon's Den style pitch to Industry and Industry gateway representatives. Successful projects will also seek match funding from industry partners. We will highlight successful examples of STFC food research with Impact as the network continues, encouraging spin-offs and patents where relevant. To ensure maximum impact, seminars from Mark Reed will help researchers understand how to accelerate their impact.
We hope outcomes from the network may also contribute to Policy and Public Debate, through sharing our Factsheets. Where our research can contribute to select committee enquiry, the most appropriate investigator will attend the meeting and we will look to submit written evidence. The University of Manchester has a general programme for aiding academics in engaging with policy (policy@manchester).

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Bridle, S (2017) STFC Food Network+

 
Description A series of talks at institutions across the Country 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Sarah Bridle has been invited to talk at ~10 institutions across the country to explain to Physicists how the Network works and to engage them in order to help develop collaborations across the STFC Physics and AgriFood communities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Coordinated meeting of Network Members to Harwell 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On 28th September we ran an STFC Food Network+ (SFN) visit to the STFC Harwell Campus. About 45 people attended, including more than 10 from industry (Pepsico, Mondelez, Unilever). In the morning we had talks introducing food challenges to STFC researchers (Tim Williams, Ian Noble, Jason Halford) and talks about STFC Facilities aimed at food research and industry (Sarah Rogers on ISIS, Tony Parker on CLF, Claire Pizzey on Diamond and Brian Matthews on the Scientific Computing Department). We had excellent feedback from the multiway speed meeting after lunch. Katharine Hollinshead (from STFC) and Harriet Trewin (from BBSRC) gave talks on funding opportunities after lunch. We had a brainstorming session on how the STFC Facilities could contribute to food challenges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Digital Innovation in Livestock Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Along with N8 Agrifood and CIEL the SFN co- hosted this event in September to explore the latest in precision farming for enhanced performance, health and welfare of livestock. This event brought together researchers working on livestock, engineering, image analysis and large-scale data, digital innovation and socioeconomics, with businesses, engineers, vets, farmers,policy makers and NGOs. The workshop helped to catalyse and develop collaborative research projects between industry and N8 universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.n8agrifood.ac.uk/media/page/35850_N8Agrifood_Innovation-Flyer_V9-3-1.pdf
 
Description Food Industry/KTN Meeting at Pepsico 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The SFN coordinated this meeting with our dedicated KTN subgroup to bring together STFC Physics colleagues with colleagues from major food industry companies (Pepsico/Nestle/Mondelez/Diageo/Unilever) in order to start collaborations across these two communities. This has resulted in a series of projects being taken away to work on with at least 4 having dedicated teams working cross-community to progress these.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited talk at the Global Food Security Programme Coordination Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Sarah Bridle was invited to talk at the Global Food Security Programme Coordination Group meeting in January to present on the Network, our progress to date and how GFS and partners could help the network to deliver its objectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster Presentation at N8 AgriFood Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Network presented a poster along with a pitch presentation at the N8 AgriFood Conference in Durham in Summer 2017. This allowed us to engage with a wide variety of AgriFood academics and policymakers and to sign-up many new members for the Network as people we can make future collaborations with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Poster and Pitch Presentation at KTN Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Network presented a poster along with a pitch presentation at the KTN Emerging Imaging Technologies in Agri-Food Workshop in January. This allowed us to engage with a wide variety of AgriFood academics and small businesses and to sign-up many new members for the Network as people we can make future collaborations with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SFN Launch Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The SFN launch meeting consisted of a series of talks by expert speakers on topics spanning the STFC and Agri-Food sectors along with interactive sessions and networking opportunities. We had talks from different funders (InnovateUK, STFC, BBSRC) as well as from small businesses, STFC Facilities and international colleagues. We interspersed these with breakout sessions and brainstorming activities and took the information gathered at these away to feed into our future Network activities. Most importantly, lots of new introductions were made and the event offered opportunities for knowledge share on the STFC Physics and AgriFood communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.stfcfoodnetwork.org/launch-meeting.html
 
Description STFC Food Network+ Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Setting up this website has allowed us to engage with a much wider audience than we could have reached otherwise. We regularly receive new member requests through the website from a wide variety of people from industry/academia and funding bodies. We use the website to promote events and opportunities both directly managed by our Network and for colleagues in other Networks as well as wider funding bodies. We have made contact with people through this that we've then gone onto work with on funding applications or talk at their institutions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.stfcfoodnetwork.org
 
Description Sandpits 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Network held a two day sandpit event to encourage people from across the country (STFC/Academics/Industry) to work together collaboratively using STFC physics technologies to solve AgriFood problems. This activity resulted in 11 pitches for funding of which two were awarded and with the option for the other 9 to hone their presentations and submit for the open funding call the Network has also been running. This activity has also helped forge connections between the two target communities which we anticipate developing in future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk at Nuclear Community Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Kieran Flanagan (SFN Co-Investigator) gave a talk at the Nuclear Community Meeting to explain to Nuclear Physicists how the Network works and to engage them in order to help develop collaborations across the STFC Physics and AgriFood communities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018