Research Theme: AgriFood

Food security is one of the great challenges in our increasingly urbanised and globalised world

Sir Alan Langlands

Chair, N8 Board

The range of projects that have been proposed by the N8 show the breadth of expertise they have to address this challenge

Andy Cureton

Head of Business and Innovation, BBSRC

This is an important collaborative project involving a strong partnership of universities with relevant and complementary expertise

David Sweeney

Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange, HEFCE

N8 can now implement an integrated, large scale multi-disciplinary research programme which will make a major, long-term impact in addressing the challenge of food security

Sir Alan Langlands

Chair, N8 Board

As the population of our planet continues to grow, demands for food, water and energy are rising.

It is estimated that by 2050 the global population will be approaching 10bn people.  To continue to feed this growing population we need to increase agricultural production by 60%.

In fact, the World Bank estimates that by 2030 cereal production needs to increase by 50% and meat production by 85%, outpacing current trends in crop yields.

Added to this need for increased efficiency in agricultural production, the effects of climate change are also contributing to decreased availability of basic necessities through changing weather patterns and water availability.

Furthermore, research in this area must also address consumers’ dietary needs; obesity in parts of the world is becoming as serious as malnutrition in terms of the effects on health.  Therefore, research into food preferences and practices, and their links to public health, as well as focusing on questions of food supply, affordability and distribution is critical to developing sustainable nutrition.


N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme’s Vision

The N8 universities have a strong research record in food security and technology across the natural and social sciences, including:

  • Plant biology and genomics, crop improvement technology, and plant production
  • Experimental farms
  • Human and animal nutrition, and human appetite
  • Consumer behaviour, including marketing and psychology
  • Land use, urban planning, geography and resource management
  • Globalisation, supply chains and economics
  • Waste management
  • Pest and disease management
  • Animal health
  • Bio-renewables and ecological agriculture

The N8 universities also have access to assets such as pathology suites, national class quarantine glass houses, farm-scale grain storage pest research units and leading bioscience laboratories as well as expertise in sensors, diagnostics, measurement tools, electronics, data-mining, and robotics.

Through this Research Theme the N8 Research Partnership will deliver globally important research projects to address key international challenges, and will partner with food and agri-tech organisations and businesses to advance knowledge and delivery in this key sector.

To find out more about what N8 are doing in this area:

N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme