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Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel


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 BBSRC has identified food security ("bioscience for a sustainable supply of sufficient, affordable, nutritious and safe food") as one of three strategic research priorities in the Council's Strategic Plan for 2010-2015 and its associated Delivery Plan for 2011-2015.


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


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 Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel (AFS SAP) 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, BBSRC's AFS SAP 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 (see downloads section). 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

BBSRC 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 Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel.

Wheat working group

In 2012, the Food Security SAP (now known as AFS SAP) established a broadly-based, time-limited working group to advise on the Council's future strategy and priorities for wheat research.

For the working group's remit and membership see the downloads section. This includes 9 key questions it was asked to consider. Comments were invited, and helpful feedback was received from the wider scientific and stakeholder communities to inform the working group's thinking.

The working group's independent advice to BBSRC is called the 5-year wheat strategy for BBSRC, (see downloads section). The strategy includes various recommendations. Comments on the working group's advice were invited and gratefully received.

Meeting dates


19 March 2015

5 June 2015

28 October 2015


13 February

12 June

30 October


28 February

16 May

17 October