Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

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.

Food System Reserach flyer cover image

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.


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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Table seeks to facilitate informed discussions about how the food system can become sustainable, resilient, just, and ultimately "good". Table is the successor to the Food Climate Research Network. Led by Dr Tara Garnett

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ECI Food Systems News

29/09/22 29 September 2022 -
Image: Monika Zurek
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Dr Monika Zurek interviewed by Australian Radio Station ABC Dr Monika Zurek, Senior Researcher at the ECI, was interviewed for a podcast on 'Food security in a precarious world' for the Australian Radio Station ABC in September. As food security issues increase across the world, expenditure on agri-food research and development is going the other way - in fact, funding in some western countries is now back at 1980s levels.
27/07/22 27 July 2022 -
Image: John Bellamy
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More investment in community-scale food supply chains could increase food system resilience A new policy brief from a major research programme whose coordination team is based in the ECI has highlighted the role of small, local food enterprises in feeding communities in Covid-19, and recommends greater investment to allow these types of food providers to contribute to a more resilience UK food system.
30/06/22 30 June 2022 -
Image: eyewave / Adobe Stock
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Climate change and the urgency to transform food systems Without rapid changes to agriculture and food systems, the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change will not be met says a new study out today in the journal Science.
23/05/22 23 May 2022 -
Meat the Future
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Museums Heritage Award win for Meat the Future Meat the Future: A partnership to feed minds and bodies' exhibition at Oxford's Museum of Natural History has won Partnership of the Year at the 2022 Museums and Heritage Awards. The exhibition draws on research by the LEAP Project which studies the health, environmental, social and economic impacts of meat and dairy production and consumption.

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

Towards a more resilient London food system

In a new report, Enhancing the Resilience of London’s Food Systems, food system researchers at the University of Oxford have brought together diverse perspectives to create a set of high-level and specific recommendations to increase the resilience of a complex, dynamic, diverse and potentially fragile food system, in which 99% of the food consumed is imported from outside the capital.

Photo: Canadian farmer by Bernard Soubry

Food systems and climate change in the Canadian Maritimes

Bernard Soubry identifies key areas of intervention needed to safeguard the Canadian Maritime food system in the face of climate change in this new policy briefing published by the ECI.

Latest publications

More recent publications

Food Systems Programme staff

Dr Tamsin BlaxterDr Tamsin BlaxterResearcher (Table)
 Rosina Borrelli Rosina BorrelliIFSTAL Workplace Liaison Officer
 Helen Breewood Helen BreewoodTable Research and Communications Officer
 Lisa Didier Lisa DidierEngagement Officer
Dr Tara GarnettDr Tara GarnettTable Leader
Dr Bhawana GuptaDr Bhawana GuptaResearcher on Nutrient Flows and Stakeholder Engagement
Dr Saher HasnainDr Saher HasnainPostdoctoral Researcher
 Sophie Hockley Sophie HockleyProgramme Manager (Table)
 Marcus Horrill Marcus HorrillResearch Assistant in Agri-Food Systems
Dr John IngramDr John IngramLeader, Food Research Programme
Associate Professor and Food Systems Programme Leader
Dr Steven LordDr Steven LordSenior Researcher Food System Economics
 Arfa Mirza Arfa MirzaCommunications Officer - Foresight 4 Food
 Bram Peters Bram PetersProgramme Facilitator, Foresight4Food
Dr Marco SpringmannDr Marco SpringmannSenior Researcher in Environment and Health
 Roger Sykes Roger SykesFood Systems Programme Manager
 Jacquelyn Turner Jacquelyn TurnerSenior Communications and Engagement Officer (Table)
Dr Monika ZurekDr Monika ZurekSenior Researcher

Honorary Research Associates