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News

Inspiring NRI researcher celebrated in Greenwich Portraits

Frances Hawkes Portraits 750Dr Frances Hawkes, Research Fellow at NRI, is being featured in ‘Greenwich Portraits at Medway’ – the initiative launched by the university’s Alumni department that profiles and celebrates Greenwich University’s most influential and inspiring alumni through a series of striking photographs. Frances’ portrait, taken by photographer Diane Patrice, was unveiled at an event on the evening of 21st November at the university’s Medway campus, where the Vice Chancellor, Professor David Maguire, opened proceedings. “We are really excited to include Frances in our latest installation,” says Sarah Cretch, Head of Alumni and director of the Portraits project, “especially as her portrait highlights the world-changing work being carried out at Medway.”

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Chocolate lovers, read this: how climate change affects cocoa pollinators

Chocolate truffles 750The UK is one of the leading countries globally for chocolate consumption per head…but how many of us think about where that chocolate comes from? Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao or cocoa tree, which only grows in tropical climates and so the crop is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

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NRI student tackling cassava disease wins top biotech sponsorship

Siji Kavil 750Siji Kavil, PhD student at NRI, is serious about cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). That’s because it’s a serious disease affecting cassava, the tropical root that is an important crop for food and nutrition security in many parts of the developing world. CBSD causes cassava roots to rot, displaying unsightly brown streaks and making them unfit for consumption or industrial use. During the past decade, CBSD has affected over 200 million smallholder farmers in east and central Africa, where it causes annual losses of over US $700 million. This is devastating for the farming families who rely on cassava for their daily food and income.

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NRI signs cooperation agreement with EMBRAPA, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation

Diversity cassava products 750Cassava, a root crop that is hugely important for food security across Africa, is believed to have originated in Brazil where it is known as ‘mandioca’. Over centuries, Brazilians have developed a complex culture and cuisine around its use with many novel foods and processes that are unknown in other countries.

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People. Planet. Food. Get involved: MScs at NRI

MSc Sustainable Environmental Management 750Think ‘climate change’ and you might not necessarily envisage your favourite food. But if you care about the food on your plate, then caring about climate change would be a smart move.

By studying at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), you can work towards a world-changing career in food, environment, agriculture or sustainable development. You can discover how climate change impacts on our food supply, and help devise solutions to this and other global challenges – another smart move.

Part of the University of Greenwich, NRI has a range of programmes starting in September or January, providing a world of opportunity for those looking to enhance their career in the UK or overseas.

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Greenwich’s first Three Minute Thesis competition at Faculty of Engineering and Science

3MT 01 750PhD research at the Faculty of Engineering and Science is changing the world – but how? In essence, this was the question being answered by participants in the University of Greenwich’s first ever ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition on 10th July 2017. Faculty doctoral students responded to the challenge by explaining their research creatively, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience, in just 180 seconds. That’s years of study, work and roughly 80,000 words of a dissertation distilled down to its purest form. How did they do it?

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Nutrition champion Howarth Bouis honoured by University of Greenwich

HowarthBouis1 750‘Hidden hunger’ occurs when people lack the essential vitamins and minerals needed for a full and healthy life. Around two billion people worldwide are affected by hidden hunger. Visionary economist Dr Howarth Bouis saw that one way to mitigate this problem was through ‘biofortification’ – the conventional breeding of crops with higher levels of essential micronutrients – and so founded the HarvestPlus programme, for which he is currently Ambassador-at-large. The mission of this CGIAR programme is to develop and scale up the delivery of biofortified nutritious crops and to provide global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. Dr Bouis is being honoured by the University of Greenwich for his dedication, commitment and pioneering work to end global hidden hunger. In a ceremony at Rochester Cathedral on 27th July, he received the degree of Honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc).

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NRI in major new project managing trade-offs in African agriculture

Ethiopia5 G Smith CIAT 750Finding a compromise in most situations can be complicated. But when the two sides involved represent hunger on one side, and our ecosystems on the other – life itself hangs in the balance. This scenario constitutes one of the major challenges facing the world today: the need to provide safe and nutritious food for a growing population, whilst protecting the natural environment, and doing so without increasing inequalities. This challenge is the subject of a new interdisciplinary project called ‘Social and Environmental Trade-offs in African Agriculture’ (SENTINEL), awarded under the ‘Global Challenges Research Fund’ (GCRF) – a £1.5 billion fund supported by the UK Government and implemented through Research Councils UK.

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Food security on the table as pioneering project estimates nutritional losses

A Bechoff mango waste 750Food lost or wasted after harvest adds up to 1.3 billion tonnes every year. These postharvest losses have a major impact on food security, especially for people in the developing world. Food security is not only about people’s access to food, but about ensuring that the food they eat is nutritious.

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World Malaria Day 2017: Double award for mosquito trap as new project launched and video triumphs

mosquito 01 750Today, 25th April, is World Malaria Day – an international observance day led by the World Health Organisation to recognise global efforts to control malaria. It is fitting that this year’s theme highlights malaria prevention, as a team of researchers led by NRI begins testing a mosquito trap that exploits the very blood-seeking behaviour of mosquitoes that makes them such good carriers of disease. This pioneering trap is the subject of a new Medical Research Council (MRC) grant, and was showcased in a short film which this afternoon won the video segment of a contest run by the Swiss Malaria Group. Dr Frances Hawkes, Research Fellow at NRI, attended the award ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland. This short film, and a full-length documentary shown on BBC television, were made by Steve Holloway and Judy Aslett of Streamline Productions. “Winning this video competition means that the reality of malaria is shared with a whole new audience,” says Dr Hawkes, “and underlines the importance of international collaboration in research to monitor and control malaria-spreading mosquitoes.”

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