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Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology

N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme: Durham contribution to Agritechnology

Guaranteeing sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a growing, increasingly affluent population is a significant long-term global challenge, beyond the capabilities of any single research group or university. The breadth of the challenge requires an integrated, large-scale, multi-disciplinary research effort. This is the ambition of the N8 universities, underpinned by a unique seven-year track record across the partnership in delivering collaborative programmes in research, equipment sharing and industry engagement.

The N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme directly addresses three elements of the Catalyst Fund theme of Research: Building excellent and sustainable capacity to tackle new fields of enquiry, maximising economic and social benefits from established research units, improving research efficiency through the shared use of major equipment and infrastructure, and other research outputs.

The 5 year Agrifood Resilience Programme funded partly by HEFC (£8M) and the N8 Universities (£8M) will tackle the challenge of global food security through three interconnected multidisciplinary research themes;

1. Sustainable Food Production

Precision agriculture, soil regeneration, resilient and productive crops and livestock, novel diagnostics, predictive modelling, including environmental impact assessment, and 'omics' to promote resilient, sustainable food production.

2. Resilient Food Supply Chains:

Adapting food supply systems to deliver increased resilience and nutrition, while improving public health, reducing environmental impacts and enhancing sustainability.

3. Improved Nutrition and Consumer Behaviours

Lowering the burden of food production and distribution on the natural environment through changes in behaviour, diet and other socio-economic factors.

No single university has the necessary capacity and capability to be considered as a leader in all aspects of food security; however each N8 partner has significant ‘national- and international-grade strengths’ in this field of research. The N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme will deliver significant added value by building on the complementarities of these assets, bringing together the N8 universities to develop expertise and create a collaboration of global significance.