IFSTAL Digest 24/01/2018

IFSTAL Digest 24/01/2018

by Harley Pope -
Number of replies: 0

Dear IFSTAL members,


The new term is well underway, and we hope it will be an interesting and engaging one.  There are a number of IFSTAL events coming up that we hope you can enjoy, including the symposium, evening workshops, an Away Day and the IFSTAL summer school and conference further into the future. As always, please take a bit of time to reflect on IFSTAL and your studies and fill in the journey document – this will help you when it comes to applying for the course certificate and attending events like the summer school.



IFSTAL Symposium – Food Systems in Changing Trade Landscapes – 27th January


The symposium is almost upon us and it looks set to be a good one.  The IFSTAL symposium will explore changing trade landscapes in food systems. It will bring together a range of disciplines and speakers to outline key issues and challenges facing the trade of food today. The symposium will combine plenary presentations and a choice of six workshops to attend. Students will gain insights into different approaches, meet and network with a range of experts from the food sector and learn key skills in food systems thinking as a route to problem solving.

For the program, speakers, and the workshops, click here. Or click ‘Events’ on the main page to find the ‘IFSTAL Symposium Programme’.


The event is fully booked, so if you can’t attend please let us know and/or put a message on the forum so that we can offer your ticket to someone else.   



·       Food Thinkers Lunches at Oxford

‘Food Thinkers’ Lunches are back this term with a selection of food-related themes!


The lunches aim to provide an informal atmosphere for the stimulation and exchange of ideas and the building of collaborations for students and professionals in the University of Oxford. They are hosted by Linacre College in their Small Dining Room, an ideal venue for people with like-minded interests to gather and eat together in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere.


They are supported and organized by the IFSTAL programme (www.ifstal.ac.uk ), the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food (www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk ), the ECI Food Systems Group (www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/food/index.html ) and Linacre College (www.linacre.ox.ac.uk ).


This term’s line-up is:

1.      30th January - Food Foresight & Scenarios (Register by the 24th of January):  Dr John Ingram, Dr Monika Zurek Food Systems Programme Leader, Environmental Change Institute

2.      16th February - Veganism in the UK – (Register by the 13th of February): Paul Freestone - Oxford Vegetarian Society, TBC from Diet and Population Health at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care

3.      2nd March - The Role of Businesses in Rainforest Management (Register by the 27th of February): Jake Backus - Empathy Sustainability, formerly Customer Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola Europe, Will Pouget - Vaults and Garden Cafe, Oxford

4.      16th March - Multisensory Flavour Perceptions & Food Packaging (Register by the 13th of March): Qian (Janice) Wang & Greg Simmonds, from the Crossmodal Research Lab & Experimental Psychology


Please sign up here - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/food-thinkers-lunch-hilary-term-2018-tickets-42198213994


IFSTAL students – please note that you will not be able to reimburse your travel to these events!! But it would be great to see you at them!


Please get in touch with Saher Hasnain (ifstal-oxford@eci.ox.ac.uk) if you have any queries about these.

·       Innovating Food Systems to Respond to Rapid Global Changes with Dr. Shenggen Fan - 7th February – Oxford Martin School – The global food system is facing momentous global changes: rapid urbanisation and rising middle income populations; changing diets; climate change; political uncertainties and anti-globalisation sentiments; and advances in technology in and out of agriculture, among other large-scale trends. At the same time, multiple burdens of malnutrition persist, with 815 million people suffering from hunger, 2 billion living with micronutrient deficiencies, 155 million children under five stunted, and 1.9 billion people overweight or obese. For food systems to help achieve the end of hunger and malnutrition while addressing other social, economic, and environmental goals, innovation will be key.  Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), will discuss the role of innovations in policy, institutions, and technology to reshape food systems to achieve multiple development goals in the context of rapid global change.

Register here.


·       The next IFSTAL Workshop will be Workshop 3: Methods for Analysing Food Systems – 7th/8th February. 


Blogs and News

·       Former Advertising Executive Reveals Junk Food-Pushing Tactics: Interesting piece at the Guardian with reflections from Dan Parker on his experiences with working with ‘big food’.


·       Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week – call for abstracts. The ANH Academy holds its 3rd annual Academy Week Scientific Conference from 25-29 June 2018 in Accra, Ghana. The call for abstracts is now open, looking at the nexus of agriculture-food systems and nutrition and health. The programme will include invited papers for oral presentations of various formats as well as poster sessions. They are seeking presentations of the results of recent scientific research using robust quantitative and/or qualitative methodological approaches. Preference will be given to studies that address interdisciplinary questions. The deadline for submission is 11 February 2018. For more information about the call as well as instructions on how to submit an abstract please follow the link: ANH2018 - Call for abstracts. Queries can be directed to: ANH-Academy@LSHTM.ac.uk.

Call for Papers

·       For conference “Connections and missing links between urban agriculture, food and food systems” organised by Universidade Nova de Lisboa with the participation of RUAF – deadline for abstract submission – 29th January – for more information see the Food Geographies blog.

·       For workshop “Transecting Healthy and Sustainable Food in the Asia-Pacific”:  In the last few years, new food practices that claim to be healthy and sustainable have become ubiquitous in Asia and the Pacific. Food fads and trends—such as the marketing of superfoods, proliferation of diet foods and health claims, institutionalization of brown rice production, popularizing of farm-to-table eating, and the mainstreaming of plant-based diet, to name a few—are becoming a significant part of consumer culture across the region. Social media and blogging have transformed the way people share foodways and knowledge. At the same time, food is becoming highly localized and thoroughly cosmopolitan. These trends have also induced transformations in rural spaces, as producers begin to accommodate these novel demands.

Changing Asia-Pacific foodways can no longer be understood as simply “diffusion from the West.” We seek a more complex and nuanced understanding of the globalization of food, which recognizes the continuing power of local, national, and regional food practices grounded in ideas about health, prosperity, and wellbeing, while grappling with broader contending and often contradictory contemporary flows and forces we can gloss as “globalization.” Ideas and practices of what it means to eat “healthy” and “sustainable” are constantly negotiated, translated, and hybridized. Hence, we use the key term “transecting” to indicate work that “cuts across” a whole series of different trends, levels of analysis, and conventional disciplinary boundaries.

The workshop endeavours to bring together cutting edge works in progress that examine the emergence and intersections of healthy and sustainable eating in the Asia-Pacific region from the perspective of the scholarship on globalization and food. We encourage papers that attempt to answer one or more of the following questions:

·       How and why are these new “healthy” and “sustainable” eating practices manifesting in a particular Asia-Pacific context?

·       How do new food practices overlay, displace, or blend with existing social, political, and cultural systems relating to food, environment, health, and the body?

·       How do these new practices parallel or differ across multiple geographic or cultural contexts?

·       What effect do new food practices have on existing ethnic, national, and regional boundaries?

·       How will these new practices manifest and transform the future? How can we tell the difference between flows and fads?

We are particularly interested in papers that:

·       engage theories relevant to globalization and food;

·        examine the flow of ideas, knowledge, capital, people, materials, etc., in relation to the new food practices;

·       are based on empirical work drawing upon historical/archival sources, ethnography,  analysis of text, or innovative cross-disciplinary approaches; and

·       are in the stage of development where a full paper will be ready by 15 June 2018.

The workshop will explore themes that cut across a wide variety of cases of new healthy and sustainable food practices in the Asia-Pacific and ask how these contribute to our understanding of globalization of food. The workshop organizers plan to submit a selection of the final papers for a journal special issue.

The workshop is hosted and organized by Yale-NUS College in collaboration with the National University of Singapore Asian Research Institute. It is a 3-day event scheduled from 30 July to 1 August, 2018. The workshop is organized and facilitated by Asst. Prof. Marvin Montefrio and Prof. Richard Wilk. Accommodations and generous support for travel costs will be provided.


Applicants should take note of the following dates:

·       15 March 2018 – Deadline of submission of paper proposal (500 word abstract containing theoretical approach, methods, and findings)

·       15 April 2018 – Announcement of successful proposals

·       15 June 2018 – Submission of full papers

·       30 July – 1 August, 2018 – Workshop in Singapore

Paper proposals (500 word abstract containing theoretical approach, methods, and findings) should be emailed to Dr. Marvin Joseph Montefrio (marvin.montefrio@yale-nus.edu.sg) by 15 March 2018 with the subject heading, “Food workshop submission (‘first and last name’)”


·       The Global Food Security (GFS) programme sponsored by the UK research councils has announced a Policy Lab for early career researchers to answer the question: “What are the determinants of food choice and which combination of interventions would have the most impact in encouraging healthier and more sustainable diets?” The winning team at the workshop will receive a £5,000 Policy Lab award to write a policy-facing report. See:  https://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/news/180105-n-ecr-policy-lab-determinants-food-choice-healthy-sustainable-diets/



PhD Funding

·       Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Research – multiple PhD projects available, such as:

o   Hobby Farming: Human Animal Intimacies, Disease Management and Antimicrobial Resistance on Smallholder Farms – Host Institution: University of Bristol

o   Disease Management and the Biosocial Communities of the Livestock Farm – Host Institution: University of Exeter

o   Innovation and its Governance: Novel Diagnostic Tools to Address Antimicrobial Resistance in Animal and Human Health

o   See here for more information and other projects. Deadline 31st January


·                 PhD Research Assistantship to Study the Social Dimensions and Governance of Gene-Edited Foods A PhD research assistantship is available in the department of sociology at Iowa State University. This assistantship will be funded as part of a new project examining the social dimensions and governance of foods derived from gene edited crops. Gene edited foods will likely create controversy and pose major governance challenges because of the technology’s scientific complexity, existing social controversy toward transgenic biotechnologies, and the ad hoc nature of current biotech regulations. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary team at ISU and SUNY-ESY examining these issues and will gain experience in using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and stakeholder and public engagement. Successful applicants will have a background or interest in the Sociology of Food and Agriculture, Political Sociology, Rural Sociology, and/or Sustainable Agriculture.

The position begins in fall, 2018 and the successful student would be eligible for up to three years of funding, a full waiver of tuition expenses, and a package of benefits (including health insurance). The position includes opportunities for professional development, including contributing to peer-reviewed publications and presentations at professional meetings. In addition to the research assistantship, the student will be expected to develop their own related research project to fulfill the requirements of the PhD in Sociology. Students may also choose to combine their PhD degree in Sociology with the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture [

Interested applicants should apply for admission to the graduate program in Sociology at Iowa State University by January 31, 2018. In addition, applicants should send a cover letter describing their interests and qualifications and a resume to Dr. Carmen Bain (cbain@iastate.edu) by the same deadline (January 31, 2018).

For more information about the Sociology graduate program at ISU, contact Dr. Susan Stewart, Director of Graduate Studies (
sstewart@iastate.edu). Additional information about the Sociology Department can be found at https://soc.iastate.edu/ and the Graduate Program at: https://grad.soc..iastate.edu/

·       The Medical Research Council (MRC) has launched 18 PhD positions on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Deadline for application is the 31st of January. For more information see: http://www.bris.ac.uk/cellmolmed/study/postgraduate/amr/



·       Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Food Research Collaboration (FRC) working with Professor Corinna Hawkes and Professor Tim Lang. The Fellow will lead the FRC’s workstream on integrated UK food policy post-Brexit in this second phase of funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Deadline for applications – 26th January – for more information, click here.


·       New, free 8-week MOOC course on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace. Our IFSTAL alumna, Kelly Bridges, is currently working with the Environmental Law Institute – a think tank in Washington D.C.  They have developed a free online course in partnership with UN Environment, The Earth Institute, UCI, Duke University, and SDG Academy, ELI on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace. The 8-week course will provide an in-depth introduction to the multiple roles that natural resources and the environment play in the onset, escalation, and resolution of, and recovery from, violent conflicts. Enrolment is now open for the MOOC, which begins on March 1st. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate. The link is: https://courses.sdgacademy.org/learn/environmental-security-and-sustaining-peace-march-2018. If IFSTAL students/alumni are interested in learning more about ELI's Environmental Peacebuilding partnership, they can check out the Instagram/Twitter handle (@EnvPeaceBuild), LinkedIn Group (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6612941), and environmentalpeacebuilding.org.

·       For resources on food systems issues, working groups and networks you may find useful follow the link here. This will take you to the resources section in Unit 1 on the portal.

·       “Food Safety, Security, and Defence: Focus on Food and the Environment” – podcast by ISGP on a paper presented by John Ingram. Listen here: Episode 58. The paper itself can be found here: Science for Global Policy, and the conference proceedings here.

·       Units 3 & 4 – online on the Portal are now live.

·       Special Report by the Financial Times: ‘Future of the Food Industry’ discussing food waste, GM animals, and insect consumption.


IFSTAL Certificate

If you have participated in IFSTAL over the past year and would like a certificate of your engagement, please see the information regarding the procedure here on the Portal. You can apply for this at any time.


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