CoE Articles

Research at the CoE-FS in 2022

Published December 31, 2022, by Carla Bernardo

Professor Julian May, co-PI of the CoE-FS’s Programme 1, examining food supplies in the home of Brenda Siko, who runs an unregistered early childhood development centre in Worcester’s Mandela Square informal settlement. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks.

The CoE‑FS undertakes research, capacity building, multi-stakeholder dialogue, and policy advocacy on how sustainable food systems can achieve food and nutrition security for all. The objective of this work is to improve people’s nutritional status by linking innovative science with critical inquiry and implementation strategies. Three areas of work are prioritised as follows:

  1. Multi‑level governance and policy dialogues to create a sound and resilient food system at the global, national and local levels
  2. Innovation for the sustainability, productivity and utilisation of indigenous African and other locally available foods that affect food security
  3. Quantity, quality, diversity and safety of diets in relation to all forms of malnutrition.

Crosscutting themes are a humanities perspective to explore the complex, dynamic and diverse relationships between food and human beings; a food systems perspective; addressing the complexities of the production, processing, marketing, distribution and consumption of food with consideration of the environmental impacts of the food system; and a social protection and poverty reduction perspective concerned with the causes and consequences of, and solutions to multiple deprivations.

The six areas of research adopted and endorsed by the CoE-FS’s Steering Commitee in 2015, and approved by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2016, remain the focus of our work in 202.

The three research questions that inform the scope of work for the CoE‑FS’s research activities are:

  • How is the global and national food system changing and how does this affect the sustainability, availability, access, and attributes of food?
  • Who are the ‘food insecure’, where are they located, what are their choices, strategies, and opportunities when seeking food security, health, and well‑being, and how do these changes in response to the changing food system?
  • What policies, technologies, interventions, and products enable access to affordable and nutritious and safe food in ecological, economic, social, and politically sustainable ways?

In 2022, the CoE‑FS retained its programme principal investigators (PIs) drawn from the two host institutions and consortium partners, based on relative strengths in each area in a supportive context:

These PIs form the CoE‑FS’s Management Committee. The research programme of the CoE‑FS is undertaken as projects within multidisciplinary programmes, and synthesised at the core through transdisciplinary analysis. Find out more about each programme, and its respective projects below:

  • Programme 1: Food Systems, Governance and Policy
  • Programme 2: Innovation and Technology
  • Programme 3: Nutrition, Health and Safety for Food Security
  • Leverage project: SA–UK Bilateral Research Chair in Social Protection for Food Security in South Africa
  • Leverage project: Partnerships for Healthy Diets and Nutrition in Urban African Food Systems – Evidence and Strategies (NOURICITY)
  • Leverage project: Exploring Food System Transformations in Rapidly Changing African Cities (Food4Cities)
  • UNESCO Chair in African Food Systems
  • Leverage project: Infant and Young Child Feeding Advocacy (IYCF) project.

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