What is IFSTAL?
IFSTAL is an interactive training programme designed to improve post-graduate level knowledge and understanding of the food system.
IFSTAL addresses the urgent need for a workforce more skilled in food systems thinking. This will help to overcome increasing and systemic failings in food systems: globally about one billion people are hungry, two billion lack sufficient nutrients, and over two billion are overweight or obese. All of these conditions have substantial negative health impacts. Further, food system activities – from producing to consuming food (aka the ‘food chain’) – are significantly degrading the natural resources upon which food security depends. Possible interventions are embedded within political, economic, business, social, cultural and environmental contexts related to the whole food system; people equipped to think about food system issues across these domains are urgently needed.
IFSTAL integrates the respective strengths of the collaborating institutions to offer well rounded, interdisciplinary post-graduate teaching and learning about food systems. It will thereby generate a cohort of Masters and PhD graduates equipped to address food systems challenges by framing their specialist understanding gained through their degrees within the broader social, economic and environmental context. This will enhance their professional capability by improving their critical and innovative food system thinking and help them to be more effective in the workplace by enabling them to make a distinctive contribution to improving global and national food policies, practice and security.
Please note, IFSTAL changed the 'I' in its name from Innovative to Interdisciplinary in September 2018. This means some of our older material has 'Innovative' in the title.
With original core funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), it initially brought together expertise and experience of faculty and students from five leading higher education institutions: University of Oxford, City, University of London, University of Reading, University of Warwick and the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH). From October 2019, City, University of London, and the University of Reading are no longer part of the collaboration, although acknowledged throughout the content on this portal for their contribution.