A £9.2million research programme focused on improving, evidence-based policy making to develop sustainable, productive, agricultural systems, resilient to climate change has been launched in Pretoria.
AFRICAP is led by the University, in partnership with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a pan-African policy network and is focused on generating evidence-based policy to transform agriculture and food systems in Africa.
The programme aims to improve productivity of farming systems and their resilience to shocks caused by climate change.
This is critical, given agriculture’s the key role in Africa’s economy; contributing about 15 per cent of continental GDP, with smallholder farms constituting approximately 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa, employing about 175 million people directly and having significant impact on the environment.
AFRICAP will advise on the development of climate-smart agri-food system pathways and create ‘special agricultural zones’ where research can be turned into evidence, leading to policy that is capable of influencing practices.
It will further assess how food, agriculture and natural resources policies can be developed so that they support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Lead researcher Professor Tim Benton, from the University of Leeds, who is the UK’s former Global Food Security Champion, said: “This is about weather, climate, agriculture, economic growth, sustainability, livelihoods; with the end-game being how best to design policy for African growth that is climate smart and sustainable.
"We will review what can be done better, given what we know now, and what challenges will we face in the future, and consider how we should prepare for them.
"Working with experienced practitioners based across the continent will ensure we keep our focus on improving livelihoods by proposing practical evidence-based policy in support of future development.”
Dr Tobias Takavarasha, FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer, said: “AFRICAP presents a unique opportunity for African and UK institutions to collaboratively build the capacities required across research and policy to tackle the challenge of achieving sustainable and resilient transformation of agriculture and food systems in Africa.
"What is exciting for FANRPAN is that AFRICAP will work across all levels, from local to global to develop a pathway for agricultural development in Africa”.
The funding for the programme is from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion UK Government programme to support research that addresses critical problems in developing countries across the world. It is administered by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Dr Amanda Collis, BBSRC Executive Director of Science and GCRF Champion said: “The GCRF provides real opportunities for the UK’s world-leading bioscience research community to meaningfully contribute to the economic and societal wellbeing of developing countries.
“With collaborations such as this one led by Professor Benton, long-term partnerships with in-country experts will provide a platform for sustainable, resilient transformations in agriculture and food production, benefiting those most in need.”
The launch has seen key programme partners from the UK and Africa meeting to examine the programme’s aims and embark on the research and information gathering process.
Helen Miller, Innovate UK (Apr 2018), £999,960
Elisabetta Groppelli, David Rowlands & Stanley Lemon (University of North Carolina), Medical Research Foundation Fellowship (Apr 2018), £293,494
Nikesh Patel, Medical Research Foundation fellowship (Apr 2018), £290,976
Jessica Kwok & Ralf Richter, Leverhulme Trust (Apr 2018), £298,273
Julie Aspden, Royal Society (Apr 2018), £20,000
Liz Duncan, Royal Society (Mar 2018), £14,602
Alex O'Neill & Ryan Seipke, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £45,489
Jim Deuchars, Royal Society (Feb 2018), £16,300
Stefan Kepinski & Netta Cohen, Leverhulme Trust (Feb 2018), £320,387
Lisa Collins, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £49,950
Lars Jeuken, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Nikita Gamper, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Alison Baker, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Scott Bowen, Leducq Foundation Grant (Feb 2018), £28,470
Jessica Kwok and Ronaldo Ichiyama, International Spinal Research Trust (Feb 2018), £94,450
Alex O'Neill, Oxford Drug Design (Jan 2018), £86,098
Dave Lewis and Colleagues in South Africa, HEFCE Global Challenge Research (Jan 2018), £48,000
Sarah Calaghan, Ed White, John Colyer, Isuru Jayasinghe, BHF (Jan 2018), £128,308
Christine Foyer and Alison Baker, HEFCE GCRF Grant (Jan 2018), £71,158
Alison Baker, Yun Yung Gong and Lindsay Stringer and ICRISAT India, HEFCE GCRF Grant (Jan 2018), £27,000
Graham Askew, Simon Walker, BBSRC (Jan 2018), £699,781
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society (Jan 2018), £512,801
Alison Dunn, NERC (Dec 2017), £18,000
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society-Research Fellows Enhancement Award (Dec 2017), £94,681
Helen Miller, AB AGri Grant (Dec 2017), £73,600
Simon Walker, Royal Society Enhancement Award (Dec 2017), £10,000
Carrie Ferguson, Bryan Taylor, Harry Rossiter, The Physiological Society (Dec 2017), £7,392
Ralf Richter, Royal Society (Dec 2017), £6,000
Christine Foyer, British Council Newton Fund (Dec 2017), £49,840
Adrian Whitehouse and colleagues in School of Chemistry and University of Liverpool, MRC (Nov 2017), £622,319
Michelle Peckham, Neil Ransom, MRC (Nov 2017), £495,159
Dave Lewis, British Council India (Nov 2017), £22,540
Elton Zeqiraj, Royal Society (Nov 2017), £15,000
Hannah Dugdale, Royal Society (Nov 2017), £15,000
Shaunna Burke, Cancer Research UK Innovation Grant (Nov 2017), £20,000
Alex O'Neill and colleagues in Chemistry, BBSRC (Nov 2017), £431,865
Jessica Kwok, Wings for Life (Nov 2017), £87,365
Tom Bennett, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £523,679
Neil Ranson, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £494,318
Nikita Gamper, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £490,426
Amanda Bretman and colleagues from UEA, NERC (Oct 2017), £430,886
Juan Fontana, Rosetrees Trust consumables grant (Oct 2017), £22,500
Helen Miller, DSM Nutritional Products AG (Sep 2017), £69,988
Neil Ranson, Juan Fontana, Mark Harris, Michelle Peckham, Ralf Richter, Peter Stockley, Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle and colleagues in Engineering, FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Sep 2017), £418,000
Jamie Johnston, Physiological Society (Sep 2017), £10,000
Frank Sobott, Adrian Goldman, Mark Harris, Andrew Macdonald, Stephen Muench, Sheena Radford and colleagues in FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Aug 2017), £415,000
Ralf Richter, David Brockwell, Eric Hewitt, Jessica Kwok, Emanuele Paci and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £600,000
Eric Blair, Adrian Whitehouse, Nicola Stonehouse, Alison Baker, Richard Bayliss, Joan Boyes, Ryan Seipke, Sally Boxall and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £376,000
Stefan Kepinski, Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, Tom Bennett, Michelle Peckham, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £331,000
Roman Tuma, Lars Jeuken, Paul Millner, Sheena Radford, Peter Stockley and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £222,000
Vas Ponnambalam, Darren Tomlinson, Stephen Wheatcroft, BHF (May 2017), £107,878