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Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel

Challenge

Recognising the need to respond to the global challenge of securing sustainable supplies of food for a growing population from the same or less land, and with fewer inputs of water, energy and nutrients, while minimising adverse environmental impacts we have identified food security ("bioscience for a sustainable supply of sufficient, affordable, nutritious and safe food") as one of three strategic research priorities in our Strategic Plan and associated Delivery Plan.

Role

This panel serves in an advisory capacity to BBSRC to assist in formulating its strategy for agriculture and food security.

Members

Professor Christine Williams OBE (Chair) – University of Reading
Dr Chris Brown – ASDA Stores Ltd
Professor Rob Edwards – Newcastle University
Professor Sue Hartley – University of York
Professor Julian Hibberd – University of Cambridge
Mr Phil Jarvis – Game and Wildlife Trust
Professor Julian Ketley – University of Leicester
Professor Nic Lampkin – Organic Research Centre
Professor Andrew Peters – Scotland's Rural College
Dr Mike Salter – AB Agri Ltd
Professor Helen Sang – The Roslin Institute
Professor Pete Smith – University of Aberdeen
Professor Leon Terry – Cranfield University
Professor Jonathan Wastling – Keele University

Working groups

Periodically the panel establishes time-limited working groups, with membership drawn from the panel and more widely, to advise in detail on particular topics. Outputs from these groups can be seen below.

Sustainable intensification of agriculture working group

In 2014, the panel established a broadly-based, time-limited group to advise on the Council's role (potentially with others) in relation to the sustainable intensification (SI) of agriculture. The role of the working group was to consider how we could best contribute to supporting research or related activities (infrastructure, training and skills, translation of research into practice etc) relevant to SI.

The group presented its independent advice to us in a report:

The group:

  • proposed four thematic areas in which BBSRC could contribute to SI
  • identified a number of cross-cutting issues relevant to more than one theme
  • made a set of associated recommendations

Comments on the report were invited and gratefully received. Comments included:

  • an emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary working
  • the need to balance production with other ecosystems services
  • the broad nature of SI, and the associated need for research to target specific aspects
  • the value of (and potential challenges associated with) co-designed research
  • the important role of chemistry in SI research
  • the need to consider possible effects of SI on animal welfare

Respondents also helpfully:

  • suggested links to existing debates, activities, groups and relevant funders
  • highlighted additional areas for consideration
  • provided useful comments on a number of the recommended actions

We will use these comments to help inform our implementation of the working group's advice; we are currently working on a draft implementation plan and will continue to liaise with the panel.

Wheat working group

We invest over £20M a year in wheat-related research and are the largest UK public funder of wheat research. Wheat, barley and oilseed cultivation account for 33% of all agricultural land-use in the UK. Due to the strategic importance of wheat we have a specific wheat vision and strategy, visit our wheat research page at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/wheat for more information.

Meeting dates

2015

  • 19 March 2015
  • 5 June 2015
  • 28 October 2015

2014

  • 13 February
  • 12 June
  • 30 October

2013

  • 28 February
  • 16 May
  • 17 October