A number of current projects demonstrate the N8 Universities breadth and depth of research focus in the food security and technology field, covering areas as diverse as biofumigation, genome engineering and food supply network modelling.

The aim of collaborating in this area is to build on this expertise. By working together, we can develop new insights, technologies and knowledge to address a grand challenge – to support sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a growing, affluent population.

Examples of these projects include:

The Sustainable Consumption Institute/CONANX

The Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, in collaboration with the CONANX group at The University of Sheffield has demonstrated the utility of an ethnographic understanding of domestic practices in the generation of household food waste. This has informed government policy via the Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP).

Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil palm Research (SEnSOR)

A University of York programme, funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, SEnSOR is designed to quantify the impacts of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.


Funded by the EU and led by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, with 11 partners including the University of Sheffield, GREEN-AgriChains aims at tackling all aspects of Green Supply Chain Management (SCM) and logistics.


Next-generation genetics and tools for markers, gene discovery and genome engineering for crops

Scientists from the universities of Liverpool and Lancaster, together with Rothamsted Research, are building on wheat genome sequencing to identify molecular markers for abiotic stress-tolerance that will be integrated into international wheat breeding programmes. In addition, work by the universities of Liverpool and Manchester is developing improved computational methods for transcript-level expression analysis using RNA-sequence data.

Satin Innovation (SATIN)

SATIN is a €8 million EU FP7 project led by the universities of Liverpool and Leeds, which are co-ordinating the clinical trials work package.

It is designed to develop a new generation of nutritionally balanced foods with added health functionality. The consortium includes seven SEMs and four international companies (Cargill, Coca Cola, Juver and Naturex).

Establishing biofumigation as a sustainable replacement to pesticides for the control of soil-borne pests and pathogens in potato

The universities of York and Leeds, in collaboration with the James Hutton Institute, are working with the Potato Council, the Horticultural Development Council and eight industrial partners to improve the efficacy of biofumigation with Brassica to protect potato against soil-borne pests, such as nematodes.

Renewable Industrial Products from Rapeseed (RIPR) Programme

A consortium of scientists led by the University of York, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, Institute of Food Research, and a range of industrial partners including Monsanto, Cargill, Elsoms, Limagrain and HGCA, is using Associative Transcriptomics to identify gene sequence and/or gene expression markers for the accumulation of compounds representing emerging bio-refining opportunities, plus improved fertilizer use efficiency in rapeseed.