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Brunel joins £5m research partnership to help shape future of food

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Brunel University London has joined the Partnership for a Sustainable Food Future, a new £5m doctoral research centre aimed at bolstering the resilience and sustainability of the UK’s food systems.

Backed by the UKRI, the centre, led by the University of Greenwich, will fund 62 doctoral students across seven universities to develop new research into how we make, transport and consume our food.

Each student will work with a partner organisation from across the UK food sector, working on problems ranging from obesity and plastics, to food waste and pollution. Approximately 35 Brunel academics will be involved, led by Dr Valentina Stojceska with Professor Savvas Tassou and Dr Manoj Dora as her co-investigators

Global food systems – which include the entire process of growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, consuming and disposing of food – account for an estimated 20-30% of greenhouse gases, occupy half of the world’s habitable land, account for 70% of our fresh water consumption, are the single biggest cause of biodiversity loss, and have been described as “the mother of all sustainability issues” by the independent lead of the National Food Strategy, Henry Dimbleby.

“I am absolutely delighted that Brunel University London is a partner in the Doctoral Training Centre in Food Systems,” said Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel.

“I look forward to working with our partner universities to build the talent-pipeline in this important area of science  by creating a Centre which fosters the creativity of our students and instils the broad skills sets necessary to forge a successful research career in academia or industry.”

Professor Guy Poppy, Director of the Transforming UK Food Systems Programme, said: “The need to transform the UK’s food system is essential as we build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic and try to ensure the health of humans and the environment. It is really exciting that more than 60 future leaders will graduate from the Partnership for Sustainable Food Future – Centre for Doctoral Training.

“The level of engagement with key partners from across the food system fills me with confidence that those graduating will have a wonderful career ahead of them in which they can contribute to a healthier, sustainable and more prosperous UK food system.”

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