The University of Leeds is contributing to ensure greater resilience of the UK's food supply

Dr Julia Martin-Ortega (Earth and Environment) and Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero (Civil Engineering) have been awarded one of the five projects funded by the UK’s Global Food Security programme.

The Programme, which is led by the BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and the Scottish government, is funding £4.9 million of interdisciplinary research to increase resilience and sustainability of the UK food system. The projects bring together researchers and food producers, manufacturers and retailers working in several areas; from understanding the role of phosphorus as a key nutrient in crop and livestock production to better understanding of how different landscapes affect crop pollinating insects.

Julia and Miller’s project looks at the role of Phosphorus in the resilience and sustainability of the UK food system. This project is lead by Professor Paul Withers (Bangor University) and includes researchers from Northern Ireland (Agri-Food and BioSciences Institute), Wales, (Bangor University), England (CEH Wallingford and University of Leeds) and Australia (University of Technology Sydney). This project is supported by the N8 AgriFood programme and the UK Nutrient Platform who are contributing Knowledge Exchange expertise, stakeholder engagement and capacity.

Dr Julia Martin-Ortega, said: “What makes this project both exciting and challenging, is the way in which natural and social sciences come together to address a pressing issue for which solutions and knowledge also need to be co-constructed with the range of stakeholders involved in the food supply chain”

Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero, added: “we are very excited about this opportunity that will allow us to better understand the vulnerability of UK agriculture to a future phosphorus scarcity and the role that alternative phosphorus sources like manure, sewage sludge and agricultural waste, among others, could play on the production of phosphorus fertilisers to ensure a sustainable circular economy in the UK.”