ACU and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN partner to create research network (RESNET) to explore global agri-food system transformation

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From the cup of coffee on your way to work, to the crisp apple you eat with your lunch, many consumers rarely think for long about the complex journey their food takes to reach them.

Our food system affects us in many ways. Its impacts are felt on a global level through climate change, all the way down to the individual level, with consequences for health, nutrition, and wellbeing across generations.

The research network (RESNET), a South-South and Triangular collaborative research network, will bring together academic experts across disciplines and geographic regions to explore the critical issues underpinning agri-food transformation. RESNET will convene researchers studying the social and environmental impacts of the agri-food system to facilitate connections between ACU members and other researchers around the world, working together to foster a more sustainable and equitable global agri-food system.

By bringing university departments and academics together, the RESNET builds on existing research and expertise to tackle the challenges of an agri-food system rapidly outpacing the limits of sustainability.

The first RESNET stakeholder meeting took place in London, UK, and brought together researchers from the UK, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Singapore, and South Africa. During the meeting, three roughly defined priority themes were identified:

  • Agri-food systems and climate change
  • Health, malnutrition, diets and food awareness
  • Revaluing food, generational change and wellness

The group also explored the importance of addressing related cross-cutting themes, including inequity in the agri-food system, researching the agri-food system, and policy and capacity strengthening.

Professor Colin Riordan CBE, ACU Secretary General and Chief Executive, said: “By creating connections between food system experts in our member universities, we can leverage the power of higher education to address the complex challenges of international farming and food systems.

“Through being part of innovative initiatives like this, we hope to contribute to creating a healthier, more sustainable future for all.”

In the remainder of the RESNET pilot phase, the ACU will hold three stakeholder consultations with agri-food systems researchers across the Commonwealth and beyond, including two in May 2024 and one in June. The consultations will help to shape and refine the mission, vision and activities associated with RESNET.  

If you are interested in participating in the upcoming meetings, or if you have any questions, please contact RESNET Project Manager Anouk Patel Campillo. You can also visit our RESNET page.