Food systems activities (including producing, processing, distributing and consuming food) have changed dramatically over recent decades. These changes have significantly reduced the proportion of the global population who do not have enough calories, but about one billion people are still hungry and over two billion people still do not have sufficient nutrients to lead a healthy life. Paradoxically, over two and a half billion people are now consuming too much. Meanwhile, all food system activities contribute to degrading the natural resources upon which our food security depends. How can food systems be better managed to improve food security and health outcomes with lower environmental ‘footprint’, while maintaining vibrant enterprises and livelihood opportunities? And how can we build the new professions needed to do this?

The ECI has an internationally-recognised track record in food systems research, with special emphasis on the interactions with environmental change. Key strengths include using a food systems lens for research and training on food security issues, and developing research partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders including business, policy, development agencies, NGOs and academia at large.

ECI Food Group Mission

To use an integrated food systems approach and innovative methods and tools to help a wide range of stakeholders develop and implement enhanced food system policy and practice. Research is aimed at delivering outcomes better balanced across food security, livelihoods and enterprise, and environmental goals.

ECI Food Group Strategy

  • Undertaking high quality and impactful food systems research to help influence and shape policy and practice;
  • Offering and developing new participatory methods and foresight tools to food system actors to analyse and plan needed changes to the system;
  • Delivering innovative teaching and learning approaches to develop skills in the food system workforce; and
  • Promoting new modes of knowledge exchange to support those working in the food system.
More about our food systems concept for research.


Food Systems Research

Our Food Systems research aims to enhance the efficiency of food systems to improve food security while minimising environmental impacts. Led by Dr John Ingram

Projects +

Food Systems Training (IFSTAL)

We offer Food Systems training as part of the HEFCE-funded 'Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning' programme IFSTAL, which addresses the urgent need for a workforce skilled in food systems thinking. Led by Dr John Ingram

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Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS)

We lead the Scenarios Component of a ten-year research initiative launched in 2011 by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and 'Future Earth'. Led by Dr Joost Vervoort.

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Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)

This network combines integrative research into food systems and climate change mitigation, with a strong drive to foster change through knowledge sharing, dissemination and project seeding across disciplines and sectors. Led by Dr Tara Garnett

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ECI Food news

Many people agree that food production and animal rearing contributes to environmental problems, but there is less unanimity as to the causes of these problem

Garnett, T. (2015) Gut feelings and possible tomorrows: (where) does animal farming fit? FCRN research report

Where does animal farming fit in tomorrow's world?

A new think piece on the future of livestock production has been published by the Food Climate Research Network and examines a range of different livestock futures in an attempt to understand the possible scenarios in which livestock rearing could have a lesser impact on the environment.

  • May 2015

Moving from Knowledge to Action: Blogging research and outcome highlights

This blog book tells the story of CCAFS research theme 'Linking Knowledge with Action'; its approach and lessons learned throughout the years.

  • January 2015

Latest publications

More recent publications

Food Programme staff

 Rosina Borrelli Rosina BorrelliIFSTAL Workplace Liaison Officer
 Milja Fenger Milja FengerFCRN Research and Communications Officer
 George Garbutt George GarbuttPDRA in Increasing Resilence to Water-Related Risk in the UK Fresh Fruit and Vegetable System
Dr Tara GarnettDr Tara GarnettFood Climate Research Network Leader
Dr Ariella HelfgottDr Ariella HelfgottSenior Researcher, TRANSMANGO
Dr John IngramDr John IngramLeader, Food Research Programme
Associate Professor and Food Systems Programme Leader
 Samuel Lee-Gammage Samuel Lee-GammageFCRN Research and Communications Officer
Dr Steven LordDr Steven LordResearcher, TRANSMANGO
 Maliha Muzammil Maliha MuzammilResearcher, CCAFS
Dr Michael PanagopulosDr Michael PanagopulosKnowledge and Communications Officer
 Marie Persson Marie PerssonFCRN Communications and Network Development Officer
 Roger Sykes Roger SykesFood Systems Programme Manager
Dr Joost VervoortDr Joost VervoortSenior Researcher, TRANSMANGO and SUSFANS
Dr Rebecca WhiteDr Rebecca WhiteIFSTAL Education Coordinator
Dr Monika ZurekDr Monika ZurekSenior Researcher, SUSFANS