Training Future Actors in the Food System: A new collaborative cross-institutional, interdisciplinary training programme for students


  • Kelly Reed Warwick University
  • Kelly Reed University of Warwick
  • Rosemary Collier University of Warwick
  • Rebecca White University of Oxford
  • Rebecca Wells City University of London
  • John Ingram University of Oxford
  • Rosina Borrelli University of Oxford
  • Barbara Haesler Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH)
  • Martin Caraher City University of London
  • Tim Lang City University of London
  • Alex Arnall University of Reading
  • Raquel Ajates Gonzalez City University of London
  • Harley Pope University of Reading
  • Lauren Blake Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH)
  • Roger Sykes University of Oxford



Food Security, Systems thinking, Virtual Learning Environment, Pedagogy


There is an urgent need to train a cohort of professionals who can address and resolve the increasing number of fundamental failings in the global food system. The solutions to these systemic failings go far beyond the production of food, and are embedded within broad political, economic, business, social, cultural and environmental contexts. The challenge of developing efficient, socially acceptable and sustainable food systems that meet the demands of a growing global population can only be tackled through an interdisciplinary systems approach that integrates social, economic and environmental dimensions. The new cross-institutional training programme, IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning), is designed to improve post-graduate level knowledge and understanding of food systems from a much broader interdisciplinary perspective, which can be applied to students’ own studies. Ultimately, these graduates should be equipped to apply critical interdisciplinary systems thinking in the workplace to understand how problems are connected, their root causes and where critical leverage points might be.  This article outlines the programme and presents a review of its first year (2015-2016 academic year).

Note: Rosina Borrelli's surname is misspelled as 'Borelli' in the paper and should be cited by the author's correct name in all references.


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Author Biography

Kelly Reed, Warwick University

Teaching Fellow, School of Life Sciences
Crops being grown in a greenhouse