By Kremlin Wickramasinghe, University of Oxford

The School Food Plan for England released last week is supposed to be the blueprint that improves lunches in schools across the country. The important role of head teachers, a funding commitment from the government to support schools, and the requirement for all schools and academies to follow these guidelines are real highlights.


Humanity faces profound questions about how our planet can sustain nine billion people by 2050. With the trend of urbanisation, the majority of the world’s population now live in cities. There is a global nutrition crisis, with dual problems of undernutrition and obesity. Meanwhile, environmental and population changes have major implications for issues including food and nutrition security, access to clean water and sanitation, and natural disasters. In meeting these challenges and delivering culturally, socially and economically appropriate solutions, research has a critical role to play.

The Wellcome Trust are pleased to launch their Sustaining Health awards scheme, with a call for proposals for pilot research projects in this broad area. This call supports small awards in the order of £250 000 (exceptionally up to £500 000) for up to two years.

To find out more, please visit the Wellcome Trust website.

Deadline for concept notes: 27 August 2013


Tara Garnett reflects on her co-authored, recently released, article 'Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: Premises and Policies'.


A Restatement of the Natural Science Evidence Base Relevant to the Control of Bovine Tuberculosis in Great Britain


This project aims to provide a succinct summary of the natural science evidence base underlying bovine tuberculosis policy in the UK.  It has been led by Charles Godfray and Angela McLean from the Oxford Martin School and also involves Christl Donnelly (Imperial College), Rowland Kao (Glasgow University), David Macdonald and Gillian Petrokofsky (Oxford University), James Wood (Cambridge University), Rosie Woodroffe (Institute of Zoology), Douglas Young (MRC National Institute of Medical Research) and Robbie McDonald (University of Exeter).


Following the release last year of the report on ‘Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture’ by the Food Climate Research Network and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, around 30 experts in this field, from academic, governmental, NGO and industrial organisations, were asked to give their comments on the report.

They were asked two key questions:

  1. Where has the report helped resolve issues, and where it is misguided or simply wrong?
  2. How should we move forward, and what is required for sustainable intensification to become a concept useful for those charged with implementing policy?

These comments have all been compiled into a report which can be downloaded here:

Comments on Report

However, before reading them, we suggest you first read the original report.

Science will be publishing an article by the authors on sustainable intensification on July 5th 2013. If you are interested in reading it, please check back here then, or sign up to our newsletters (FCRN and Future of Food).

You can find out more about our work on Sustainable Intensification on our Sustainable Intensification webpage.


By Mike Rayner, University of Oxford

Last Wednesday was a good day for those of us who have been campaigning for years for more understandable food labelling. The UK Government announced their final recommendation for front-of-pack nutrition labelling and who will be using it.


Death rates from heart disease have more than halved in many European Union countries since the early 1980s, Oxford University researchers have found.

New research published in the European Heart Journal by members of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford.

Read the Oxford University Media coverage of this story.


Our perception of how food tastes is influenced by cutlery, research suggests. Size, weight, shape and colour all have an effect on flavour, says a University of Oxford team.

The study in the journal Flavour suggests the brain makes judgements on food even before it goes in the mouth.

Read more about this research on the BBC news website

Read the journal article in Flavour

Listen to Charles Spence talking about this research on Radio 4's Material World


New Report Identifies "Regret-Free" Approaches for Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change

Researchers provide clarity on action amid fears of wasted investments and imprecise science

A study called "Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture" has been published in PNAS by researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), including Oxford researcher, Joost Vervoort.

You can read the paper in PNAS here and you can read more about the research on the CCAFS website here.


Science, Technology & Environmental Policy Program on the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Post-Doctoral Fellow or Associate Research Scholar for Global Agriculture and Climate Change

The Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University invites applications for a position as a post-doctoral research associate in Global Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Forest Protection.

This position will report to and work closely with Tim Searchinger, an Associate Research Scholar, and principal investigator of the project.

To apply, please visit the Princeton University website