The N8 Research Partnership and HEFCE have funded the N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme, combining world-leading crop and livestock research with extensive expertise in social sciences in a single research initiative focused on ensuring the stability and integrity of national and global agri-food supply chains in the face of environmental and socioeconomic challenges.

A growing and increasingly affluent population is putting pressure on our ability to guarantee food security, both now and in the future: agricultural production needs to grow by 60% by 2050 to keep pace with rising populations and increasing meat consumption.

Producing more food in the face of climate change and increasingly unpredictable water supplies is a significant global challenge.


Research Excellence

The N8 universities have an impressive track record in agri-food research: with more than 370 researchers and a portfolio of £269m of research funding over the last six years, the N8 has the greatest concentration of bioscientists engaged in agri-food research in the UK.

With this new investment of £16m from the N8 Universities and HEFCE, the N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme is building on these strengths to transform food security research.

N8 AgriFood combines expertise across the natural and social sciences, including:

  • Soil health
  • Plant biology crop and biofuel improvement
  • Weed, pest and disease management
  • Livestock health and wellbeing
  • Human and animal nutrition
  • Consumer behaviour and diet choice
  • Globalisation, supply chains, fair trade and food economics
  • Waste and resource management

N8 AgriFood will:

  1. Combine the world-leading crop and livestock research at the N8 universities with the translational capabilities of six university farms to create a single research programme focussed on improving the sustainability of food production
  2. Work with companies and farmers to apply the insights generated to increase the resilience and economic competitiveness of national and global agri-food supply chains
  3. Improve public health through  better nutrition and understanding consumer choices
  4. Develop and disseminate new models and organisational capabilities to create and implement large-scale, strategic research programmes that cross discipline boundaries, and integrate impact and knowledge exchange.

Research Themes

N8 AgriFood has three inter-connected multi-disciplinary themes, addressing key challenges in food security:

Sustainable Food Production

Leader: Professor Leslie Firbank, University of Leeds

Combining, soil health, resilient and productive crops and livestock, novel diagnostics and predictive modelling to promote resilient, sustainable food production.

Improved Consumption & Health

Leader: Professor Jason Halford, University of Liverpool.

Improving public health while lowering the burden of food production and distribution on the natural environment: through changes in behaviour, diet and other socio-economic factors.

Resilient Supply Chains

Leader: Professor Steve Banwart, University of Sheffield.

Adapting food supply systems to deliver better resilience, while improving nutrition, reducing environmental impacts and sustaining economies fairly.

Contact us

For further information about N8 AgriFood, the HEFCE-funded N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme and how to get involved:

Prof. Katherine Denby,  Academic Director

Jonathan Oxley,  Operations & Business Development Director

Visit the N8 AgriFood Website: