Technology Strategy Board: Engineering solutions to enhance agri-food production

COMPETITION FOR COLLABORATIVE R&D FUNDING JULY 2013

The Technology Strategy Board, together with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and Scottish Government, is offering up to £13m for businesses to develop engineering solutions across the agri-food supply chain.

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The British Heart Foundation has published the first Coronary Heart Disease statistics supplement to focus on children and young people, presenting a wider range of statistics concerning their behaviour and health.

The statistics were produced by Nick Townsend, Prachi Bhatnagar, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, Julianne Williams, Daniel Vujcich and Mike Rayner from the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group based at Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health.

Download the report from the British Heart Foundation website here.

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A report has been published which maps out environment-related risks in the agricultural supply chain and shows how they might affect assets over time.

The report is written by Ben Caldecott, Nicholas Howarth and Patrick McSharry from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Envionment's Stranded Assets Programme.

Download the report from the Stranded Assets Programme website here.

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A restatement of the natural science evidence base relevant to the control of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain

This paper, aiming to provide a succinct summary of the natural science evidence base underlying bovine tuberculosis policy in the UK, has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The evidence summary can be found as the Appendix to a paper published (August 7th 2013) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences with an annotated bibliography as supplementary material online. The open access article can be accessed here and a version as a single pdf can be downloaded here.

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Dr Tara Garnett (Food Climate Research Network) commented on the news that the world's first lab-grown burger, grown from cow stem cells, was eaten, live on the Internet, yesterday.

She said decision-makers needed to look beyond technological solutions. "We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese, and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry," she said. "That's just weird and unacceptable. The solutions don't just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability, so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it."

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The Green Food Project (GFP) reported in July 2012 and one of the recommendations suggested follow-on work to investigate the roles that diet and consumption play in the sustainability of the whole food system. It was agreed that this work should continue with the same approach taken in the Green Food Project, to work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders.

Read the Sustainable Consumption Report here

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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.

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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

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

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

FOR THE FINAL PUBLISHED RESTATEMENT OF THE EVIDENCE, PLEASE VISIT THE bTB EVIDENCE PROJECT PAGE.

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).

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