Scottish Alliance for Food – health, equity and sustainability (SCAF)
The Scottish Alliance for Food (SCAF) is a collaborative initiative bringing together perspectives from social, natural, and applied sciences, arts and humanities, to address critical emerging research questions related to building a better food future for all.
Dates: 2023 – 2027
Funding: £311k. Scottish Funding Council.
Food is central not only to health, wellbeing and sustainability, but also identity, culture, and economy. Reimagining a healthful, equitable and sustainable food landscape is a priority now more than ever, in the light of major shocks including the climate emergency, the COVID pandemic, Brexit, geopolitical disruptions and the cost-of-living crisis.
The Scottish Alliance for Food (SCAF) is a collaborative initiative bringing together perspectives from social, natural, and applied sciences, arts and humanities, to address critical emerging research questions related to building a better food future for all. Through research, SCAF aims to stimulate collaborations and innovation, develop competencies, and foster knowledge exchange to support evidence-based solutions that benefit society and the environment.
Professor Combet continues, “There is tremendous potential in Scotland to generate answers and solutions to the difficult questions and challenges facing us. SCAF represents an exciting and ambitious new venture bringing together a broad range of perspectives, and we invite everyone interested to be part of this conversation to step forward and join us in our planning and activities.”
The APGC is bringing significant experience to SCAF in primary and secondary food production, food supply chains, biofortification, and innovation in controlled environment agriculture including vertical farming.
Through research, SCAF aims to stimulate collaborations and innovation, develop competencies, and foster knowledge exchange to support evidence-based solutions that benefit society and the environment.
Professor Emilie Combet Aspray, University of Glasgow
ADAPT: accelerated development of multiple-stress tolerant potato
Developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future.
Dates: July 2020 – June 2024
Funding: €5 million. EU funded.
The potato is one of the most important food crops in the world. However, its vulnerability to environmental stresses raises major concerns about food security. While there is limited knowledge of combined stress-signalling pathways in model plants like Arabidopsis, we have no such knowledge in crops, due to their particular metabolic mechanisms.
The ADAPT project will study the dynamics of complex signalling and response mechanisms, to identify the molecular mechanisms of adaptation to combined stress in potato. This project will develop new strategies for increased productivity, stability and quality under multiple stress conditions. It will combine molecular biology, stress physiology, systems biology and analytics with engineering and molecular breeding, engaging user-driven agencies for testing and implementation of the project’s results.
To understand the dynamics of complex signalling and response mechanisms our approach will utilise several technological advances, such as high throughput phenotyping and novel sensor plants. These tools will guide us to the key developmental stages and tissues for in depth analysis allowing unprecedented dissection of these processes.
The approach requires complementary expertise from ten leading academic research institutions with four major potato breeders, and a screening technology developer. This unique combination of molecular biology, stress physiology, systems biology and analytics with engineering and molecular breeding as well as the active participation of end-user driven agencies for variety testing and potato trading ensure translation of ADAPT results.
This project draws on the phenotyping, controlled environment and molecular physiology facilities and expertise held by researchers within APGC and The James Hutton Institute.
• New breeding targets and the potential to match potato varieties to specific environmental conditions.
• Feeding knowledge into breeding programmes and guiding technology development for improved crop management strategies.
• Arising from a mechanistic understanding, we aim to identify new breeding targets and matching potato varieties to specific environmental conditions.
Led by University of Vienna.
Sixteen partners including academia and industry in Austria, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Czech Republic, Spain, Slovenia and Belgium.
TuberSense is an Innovate UK FLF award to Barbara Correia at B-Hive working in collaboration with Branston Ltd, the University of West of England, University of Warwick and The James Hutton Institute. This Fellowship will tackle the agri-food waste challenge, focusing on reducing crop waste while assuring food safety by creating innovative solutions from farm to fork.
Dates: September 2021 – September 2025
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimate the need to feed a total of 9 billion people by 2050, a task that becomes especially challenging when considering the projected scenario of climate change. A key intervention target is reducing food waste, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and UK governments acknowledge the need for innovative solutions. Waste levels can be elevated in primary production through pre-harvest factors such as environment, variety selection, crop management, disease incidence and post-harvest processes. The UK is also experiencing increased volume of food being rejected due to food safety issues. Date labelling is currently implemented to assure food is consumed when at its optimum quality, however, frequently leads to avoidable food waste.
This Fellowship will tackle the agri-food waste challenge, focusing on reducing crop waste while assuring food safety by creating innovative solutions from farm to fork. It aims to create new tools for increased resilient production systems by identifying key climate-driven challenges in the potato supply chain. It is key to translate our developed knowledge into innovative management tools focused on early detection and potentially preventing major pests and diseases. We also aim to reduce waste in the UK household by developing an innovative labelling system that serves our health, wallet and environment.
Two business – B-hive Innovations Ltd and Branston Ltd, and three academic institutions – the James Hutton Institute, the University of the West of England and the Warwick University have come together to support the applicant Dr Barbara dos Santos Correia to deliver this innovative, complex and multidisciplinary research programme. The research programme will identify emerging threats to UK-grown potatoes via direct contact with field growers and store managers, analysing the volatile headspace of diseased tubers under laboratory and industrial conditions then using this knowledge to develop a sensing system and a spoilage indicator. All generated knowledge and systems will be tested under industrial conditions to ensure future commercial application.
- Creation of new tools for increased resilient production systems by identifying key climate-driven challenges in the potato supply chain.
- Developing knowledge into innovative management tools focused on early detection and potentially preventing major pests and diseases.
- Reducing waste in the UK household by developing an innovative labelling system that serves our health, wallet and environment.
Dr Barbara Correia at B-Hive