Led by Brunel University London, The Vision 2020 Food Helix aims to combat major challenges, including malnutrition, obesity, waste and the overuse of plastics.
According to the university, the Food Helix works like a dating agency, getting people working together in different areas to bid for EU research funding.
Speaking at the first Food Helix gathering this week, Dr Manoj Dora of the Brunel Business School outlined the scale of the problem with the future of food supply, mentioning how one in nine people in the world are “food insecure”.
“We’re here to start thinking about how we deal with our broken food system. How do we build our future food system?
“How can we use advances in technology to help, such as 3D printing and blockchain? How can innovative cross-cutting management tools redesign agricultural production to improve efficiency and eliminate waste and losses?”
Guests heard about Brunel’s research in the food sector at its Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains and talked about food safety controls in the food chain, food systems in Africa and climate-smart farming.
Global social problems
Food Helix partner Vision2020 hosts 17 clusters, also known as Helixes, of researchers and companies that each work together to solve one of the global social problems pinpointed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 – an £80bn EU fund to power research and innovation.
Professor Geoff Rodgers, Brunel’s deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, added: “These problems are critically important for society and will only be addressed by industry coming together with the research base in a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector way.”
Meanwhile, one of the biggest food problems for UK manufacturers, food fraud, could be prevented by greater collaboration with the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit, according to Andy Morling, head of food crime.