UK Biotech and Biological Science Research Council

Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitment

Reported progress


Non-financial commitments
London 2013

1. Work with the Global Food Security (GFS) program, a cross- government research coordination mechanism, to scale up engagement on nutrition-related research.

2. Work with CGIAR’s HarvestPlus to organize a UK and international scientific workshop on next-generation bio fortified crops and bioavailability.

3. Work with research councils and other partners to develop a networked approach to nutrition and health.

Reported progress

1. As part of a new cross-government cross-UKRI interdisciplinary research programme to transform the food system for healthy people and a healthy environment, we have supported four large consortia worth just under £25 million. These five-year projects span different demographic groups and communities, and address issues such as food access, food choice, and diet and health. We have also supported a £5 million Centre for Doctoral Training to develop the next generation of food system thinkers, who can bring nutrition into the many related issues across the food system. We have published two reports on low-agency interventions to reduce meat consumption and the feasibility of large-scale adoption of plant-based diets. We have also published a report and Nature Food article on four future scenarios for meeting the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals to inform research and policy.

In the run-up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September 2021, BBSRC was to convene an Independent Dialogue event on the 5 July 2021 to contribute to the Summit's vision and objectives to bring about tangible, positive changes to build a better future global food system that is strong, safe and fair for all. The scope of the dialogue event was to include biofortified crops and bioavailability.

3. UKRI-BBSRC convened a meeting of the Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Health Expert Working Group on 2 July 2020 to help build on strategic priorities by better integrating research and innovation across this nexus. The Working Group was established to: (i) identify key research and innovation opportunities and gaps (ii) identify challenges to integration across the sector in the UK and globally; and (iii) to recommend how to overcome these to build a thriving research and innovation community. A concept note has been drafted and shared with colleagues across UKRI and with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affaira (DEFRA), and has helped to inform some of the CSR narratives currently under development.

As part of the development of the UKRI CSR Health, Ageing & Wellbeing narrative, BBSRC is working collaboratively with colleagues from Medical Research Council (MRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to develop a potential programme on obesity. BBSRC is utilising information such as the report from the Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Health Expert Working Group on 2 July 2020, and horizon-scanning activities for the refresh of the Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework to help shape this potential programme.

UKRI-BBSRC was organising an UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue - Nutrition: Bridging the gap between farm to fork for improved health and resilience in a changing environment which was to take place on 5 July 2021. It was to bring together diverse research communities and stakeholders to identify the challenges and opportunities for research and innovation, and to discuss science solutions to bridge the gap between agriculture and health by preserving nutrition across the food chain and support the building of a resilient global food system that is sensitive to nutritional and environmental outcomes and social inequalities.

On course
Basis of assessment

At least half of the individual commitment components are assessed to be on course