V-KEMS Virtual Study Group: Food Security

This three-day virtual study group aims to bring mathematical scientists and other disciplines together to solve challenges of food insecurity and to promote sustainable practices.

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Working on key challenges of food security and mathematical modelling

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This three-day virtual study group, running Tuesday 16th January 2024 to Thursday 18th January 2024, developed by the Newton Gateway on behalf of V-KEMS and supported by the KE Hub, aims to bring mathematical scientists and other disciplines together to solve challenges of food insecurity and to promote sustainable practices.


Food security presents the challenge of ensuring that everyone in the world has, at all times, physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food. This virtual study group will focus on investigating causes of food insecurity, a global issue in which agriculture, supply chains and climate change play a key role.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this event is to bring together those working in mathematical sciences and mathematical modelling, agriculture, healthcare and other disciplines to solve crucial challenges in food security.

During the study group, several issues preventing global food security will be explored, including the following:

Food Production

  • Developing sustainable agriculture/ farming practices.
  • Developing sustainable food alternatives, such as plant protein alternatives.

Food Waste

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of food waste.
  • Minimising food waste.


  • Climate change effect on food production.
  • Shipping and supply chain network.
  • Diversity of food suppliers.

The following challenges will be presented to the study group:

1. Zero Waste Scotland, presented by Campbell Reid

The challenge will focus on estimating food waste produced by the public sector. Before we can tackle food waste, we need to understand how much is being generated and by who. Our understanding of food waste from the public sector and hospitality is based on outdated and unrepresentative data. Can we use publicly available data sets about the size and composition of the public and hospitality sectors to build bottom-up estimates of food waste to inform where to focus our efforts to reduce food waste?

2. Modelling optimal foliar exposure of crop protection products, presented by Anke Buchholz

This challenge will look into Foliar plant spray, which involves applying crop protection products (CPPs) directly to a plant’s leaves as opposed to putting it in the soil. Foliar spray quality (droplet size distribution, spray volume, spatial distance and number of droplets and concentration of the CPP) can have a huge impact on the performance of the CPP and subsequently the growth, yield and quality of the crop. The question “which spray quality leads to the most efficient CPP performance” is yet to be addressed.

To secure a place, please register at the link below by 5pm on Thursday 11 January 2024.


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