Scientific Meetings

SEB Food Security and Safety Symposium

(organised jointly between the SEB Education & Public Affairs Section and Lancaster University)

Lancaster University, UK
13th - 15th September 2010
Lancaster Corn.

Organized by: Bill Davies (Lancaster University) and Sarah Blackford (SEB)

This interdisciplinary Symposium is a unique opportunity for bioscientists, technologists, social scientists, specialists in ethics, economics and policy to come together to share their research information and expertise. Talks will be followed by periods of discussion with plenty of opportunity for delegates to network, identify potential inter- and cross-disciplinary collaborations and build on current knowledge. We welcome contributions and registrations from postgraduates, postdoctoral research associates, as well as established academics and professionals.

To download the FINAL programme, please click here.


  • Sustainable intensification
  • Food Quality & Safety
  • The Food Security Challenges:
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • China
  • Food Utilisation, Access & Availability
  • Resourcing the Research


PLENARY SPEAKER: Gebisa Ejeta (Purdue University, Winner of 2009 World Food Prize)

Ingo Potrykus (Chairman Humanitarian Golden Rice Board & Network)
Ian Crute (Chief Scientist, Agriculture and Horticulture Research Board)
David Lawrence (Syngenta)
John Kirkegaard (CSIRO)
Kathy Kahn (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Amanda Read (BBSRC/RCUK)
Bob Lee (BRASS, Cardiff University)
Ken Giller (Wageningen University)
Saskia Vermeylen (Lancaster University)
Linus Opara (University of Stellenbosch)
Zhang Jiahua (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Peter Gregory (Scottish Crops Research Institute)
Geoff Tansey (Food Ethics Council)
Neil Baker (Essex University)
Nick Birch (Scottish Crop Research Institute)
Elias Fereres (CSIC University of Cordoba)
Angela Karp (Rothamsted Research)
Felix Wackers (Lancaster University)
Larry Busch (Michigan State University/ Lancaster University)
Charlie Paton (Sahara Forest Scheme/Saltwater Greenhouse Ltd)
Francois Tardieu (INRA, Montpellier)
Matthew Reynolds (CIMMYT)
David Tyfield (Lancaster University)
Brian Wynne (ESRC Cesagen, Lancaster University)
Neil Bragg (Agriculture and Horticulture Research Board)
Ken Wilson (Lancaster University)


With the world's population set to reach 7 billion at a time when the predicted global warming of our climate will make it increasingly difficult to grow food, even in many of the major food-producing regions, food security and safety are high on the global political agenda.

Food security is not solely about science and technology, social institutions or natural phenomena. Nor is it the sum of these.  Instead, it is about the rather messy entanglements of all of these. Thus, food security might be improved, but it is not a problem that can be solved in any simple sense. It will require diverse knowledge-capacities, practical skills, and resources to achieve sustainably.

Food security may be divided into three major components:

  • Food availability (production, distribution, and exchange);
  • Food access (affordability, allocation, and preference);
  • Food utilization (nutritional value, social value, food safety, wastage). 

Food system discussions and policies need to recognise what can be the rather considerable conflicts among those within food supply chains (from input suppliers to final consumers). Thus, the use of crops and land for energy, for forest products, for fibre crops, as well as non-agricultural uses of land and water (e.g., for mining, manufacturing, urban sprawl, etc) are not merely a matter of tradeoffs; they are points of heated (and sometimes violent) conflict among various interests and groups in society.  Moreover, merely increasing production or productivity is unlikely to resolve these conflicts.

The meeting is supported by:

British Council. HDC. JXB. Research Councils. Royal Society. Waitrose. ESRC.


Organizing Committee: Bill Davies, Sarah Blackford, Talja Dempster, Larry Busch, Brian Wynne, David Tyfield, Mary Traynor and Eleanor Carr