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The University of Southampton

Southampton Professor to help find fresh ideas to transform UK food systems

Published: 28 October 2019
Professor Guy Poppy
Professor Guy Poppy will lead the UKRI's Strategic Priorities Fund Food Systems Programme.

Guy Poppy, Professor at the University of Southampton and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Food Standards Agency, has been appointed to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) on a part-time basis as Programme Director for the recently announced Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Food Systems programme.

The Programme is a highly ambitious £25m call by UKRI in partnership with government for research to fundamentally transform the UK food system, by placing healthy people and a healthy natural environment at its centre.

Professor Poppy will bring his academic expertise and experience of working closely with policy makers in government to provide strategic leadership and insight into the development of the SPF. The Programme aims to address health, environmental and social challenges simultaneously, bringing together researchers, policymakers, business and civil society to develop evidence for multi-pronged and simultaneous action across the food system.

Professor Poppy said: “This is a fantastic time to join BBSRC as it works within UKRI and with all its other academic and business partners to deliver the research and innovation that the UK needs. Focusing on food systems, I have been given a great opportunity to unleash the new ideas required to transform the UK food system for human and planetary health and to boost this crucial sector, which currently employs more than 450000 people and annually contributes over £31 billion to the UK economy. I believe that by working in partnership we will find fresh ideas that will make a real difference, which will help address climate change, reduce the health challenges caused by poor diets and help create trust in the food system amongst UK consumers.”

Announcing the appointment, Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair, BBSRC said: “How we produce food and what we consume are fundamental issues that this planet must address. The Food Systems programme, supported by the Strategic Priorities Fund, will seek solutions. We want to transform the UK food system, with healthy people and a healthy natural environment at its core. This is a big task which will need great people to help drive it. That is why we are confident that with the appointment of Guy Poppy, UKRI can play a vital part in this effort.”


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