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 Systems 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 Systems 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.

RESEARCH AND ACTIVITY

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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Resilience of the UK Food System

We coordinate the Global Food Security Programme's 'Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context' programme (GFS-FSR), supported by BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and the Scottish Government. Coordinated by Dr John Ingram.

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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 Systems News

Multiple forms of malnutrition are the new normal. Addressing them will require changes across the entire food system.

Dr John Ingram, ECI Food Systems Programme Leader

Sustainable Food Systems for a Healthy World

In an journal article for Sight and Life Dr John Ingram asks: What are sustainable food systems for a healthy world? "Environmental concerns are clearly important," Ingram writes, "but only represent one view of a healthy world. Another relates to the health of the human population, which has risen dramatically in recent decades... But we should not be complacent."

Food Systems and Natural Resources

For thousands of years, nature has gracefully provided the necessary inputs to feed us, and we have in many occasions taken these precious gifts for granted. This report, coordinated by the UNEP's International Resource Panel and with contributions from Dr John Ingram, is an effort to account for these inputs.

Latest publications

More recent publications

Food Systems Programme staff

 Rosina Borrelli Rosina BorrelliIFSTAL Workplace Liaison Officer
 Milja Fenger Milja FengerFCRN Research and Communications Officer
 George Garbutt George GarbuttResearch Associate in Increasing Resilence to Water-Related Risk in the UK Fresh Fruit and Vegetable System
Dr Tara GarnettDr Tara GarnettFood Climate Research Network Leader
 Saher Hasnain Saher HasnainEducation Coordinator (maternity cover), IFSTAL Programme
 Aniek Hebinck Aniek HebinckResearcher
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 Patrick O'ReillyDr Patrick O'ReillyPostdoctoral Reseach Assistant in Participatory Nexus Mapping
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 (on maternity leave)
Dr Monika ZurekDr Monika ZurekSenior Researcher, SUSFANS