A Plant Breeder Geneticist, Chike leads the Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources Team of the Plant Production and Protection Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In this role, he is ultimately responsible for FAO’s work on crop improvement – a portfolio which encompasses the provision of support to member countries on the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA); plant breeding and seed delivery systems. Additionally, he serves on the organization’s Interdepartmental Working Group on Biotechnologies.
Charles Godfray is a population biologist with broad interests in the environmental sciences and has published in fundamental and applied areas of ecology, evolution and epidemiology. He is interested in how the global food system will need to change and adapt to the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, and in particular in the concept of sustainable intensification, and the relationship between food production, ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Charles is the Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Population Biology at Oxford University, and directs the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. He is also Chair of Defra’s Science Advisory Council, a Trustee Director of Rothamsted Research and a Trustee of the Food Foundation. He sits on the Balzan (science) and Heineken (environmental science) Prize committees. In 2017 he was knighted for services to scientific research and for scientific advice to government.
Professor Nicola Lowe
Professor of Nutritional Sciences, UKRI/GCRF Challenge Leader for the Food Systems Portfolio
Shaleen is a Public Health Nutrition Specialist (RNutr), co-founder of Harborne Food School and partner investor in new restaurant concept, Hengata. Shaleen has worked in Public Health for nearly two decades. She is an advisor to Birmingham City Council and the nutrition lead for the Horizon 2020 funded Food Trails project. This involves supporting 11 European cities to consider nutrition principles in the development of their food policy actions.
Shaleen also works for the UK based charity, The Food Foundation. She is currently leading the FCDO funded Food Cities 2022 initiative. This builds upon the 'Nutrition Smart City initiative' which involved establishing a learning partnership between Birmingham and Pune in India. Shaleen is supporting the Indian government to implement the EatSmart Cities Challenge and is actively engaging city authorities in Malawi, South Africa, Bangladesh and elsewhere into the Food Cities 2022 partnership.
Nigel is is Co-Chair IUCN SSC CWR Specialist Group; Chair of European Cooperative Programme for PGR In Situ Working Group; Chair of the UK PGR Committee; Senior Scientific Advisor for the GEF / World Bank on PGR Conservation and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He was appointed International Science Advisor for Bioversity International in 2016. He has published >280 scientific papers and 23 books on various aspects of PGR conservation.
He has recently published a policy papers on English crop wild relative conservation for Natural England, crop wild relative in situ conservation for European Cooperative Programme for Genetic Resources and the European Parliament and global agrobiodiversity conservation and use for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, as well as engaging in practical field-based conservation in the Middle East. He has supervised over 160 Masters and 34 PhD research projects.
Co-founder of Leon restaurant chain and Co-founder and Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association
Henry Dimbleby was given the role of lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in March 2018. In June 2019 the Environment Secretary appointed Henry Dimbleby to lead the National Food Strategy, which he published in July 2021.
Henry Dimbleby co-founded the Leon restaurant chain (2004). He was a co-founder of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (2009), the charity Chefs in Schools (2018) and co-authored The School Food Plan (2013), which set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.
Henry previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company (1995-2002) where he advised businesses on strategy, performance improvement and organisational design. Before that he worked as a journalist on The Daily Telegraph and a chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons Inn on the Park
Ajay Vir Jakhar is a citrus farmer based in Village Maujgarh in Punjab, India.
He is Chairperson of Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum India) formed in 1955. A non-political association of farmers’ advocating the crucial need to focus on farmer prosperity and regenerative agriculture.
Working with a diverse set of stakeholders to develop a food-systems approach for India. Regularly convenes workshops and conferences for building a consensus to provide inclusive outcomes. Till recently he was Vice Chair, Action Track 2 of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 and Chairman of Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission, a statutory body to advise the State Government of Punjab, India on improving rural livelihoods.
Present associations: 1. Advisory Board, EAT Foundation 2. Ambassador, Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) 3. Member, The Abohar Cooperative Marketing Society Ltd. Graduated with a degree in Geography and his hobbies are walking and reading.
Juan Lucas Restrepo is Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy, CGIAR, and Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). A Colombian and French national, he worked in the agricultural domain, both in the public and private sectors, for the past 25 years. He has significant experience in policy, value chains, markets, and leading agricultural research. He has supported the work of CGIAR through the various governance roles he held over the years in the Committee of Genetic Resources Policy, Oversight and Executive Committees, and as the representative of the Colombian Government on the CIAT Board of Directors as an ex-officio member. Among other positions, in Colombia, he served as the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as the Executive Director of AGROSAVIA, the largest agricultural research organization in the country, and as Chief Commercial Officer of the National Federation of Coffee Growers. As its Chair, he also led the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and its efforts to better integrate the agricultural research for the development community, with change and innovation by farmers. He holds a degree in civil engineering from Universidad de los Andes and an MS in agricultural economics from Cornell University.
Szonja is Hungarian and holds a degree in Law from ELTE Budapest University, an MA in French and European Law from Panthéon-Assas University (Paris) and an L.LM. in IP and Competition Law from the University of Liège. In 2009 she joined Euroseeds and since 2013 she is Director IP & Legal Affairs at Euroseeds. Before, joining Euroseeds she worked at the European Commission in various functions.
Within Euroseeds Szonja is primarily responsible for issues related to intellectual property protection and plant genetic resources. Besides these areas, she also handles all seed legislation-related legal questions. She represents Euroseeds towards relevant international organizations and European Institutions.
General Coordinator Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
Million Belay coordinates the Alliance for Food Sovereignty for Africa, a network of networks of major networks in Africa. He is a member of the International Panel of Experts on the Sustainable of Food Systems (IPES-Food). Million is a founder of MELCA – Ethiopia, an indigenous NGO working on issues of agro-ecology, intergenerational learning, advocacy and livelihood improvement of local and indigenous peoples. Million has been working over two decades on the issues of intergenerational learning of bio-cultural diversity, sustainable agriculture, the right of local communities for seed and food sovereignty and forest issues. His main interest is now advocacy on food sovereignty, learning among generations, knowledge dialogues and the use of participatory mapping for social learning, identity building and mobilization of memory for resilience. He has PhD in environmental learning and MsC in tourism and conservation and BsC in Biology.
I have been a Labour Councillor since 2004 and currently represent Holyhead ward. I took up the position of Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care in May 2015. My interest in politics developed following my active involvement in a number of health projects at a local, regional and national level. I have also held the role of the City’s Mental Health Champion. I am passionate about raising awareness of Mental Health. Outside the Council, I held a number of nursing roles before going on to work at the Royal College of Nursing as a Professional Development Advisor.
As Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care; I will use this position advocate for change to make a positive difference and improve the outcomes for some of the City’s most vulnerable citizens and their families and carers. I am a firm believer in co-production and am actively involved in working with our citizens and our health partners to create a more joined up health and social care system that improves outcome for our citizens with a focus on prevention, early intervention, independence and enablement.
Chair of Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board
Vice Chair of West Midlands Combined Authority Health and Wellbeing Board
West Midlands Combined Authority Lead for Childhood Obesity
Chair of Handsworth Association of School Board Member Trustee and a School Governor.
Vice Chair of the Community Wellbeing Board at the LGA (Local Government Association)
The integration of Health and Social Care into the newly formed Integrated Care System, will provide a place-based seamless health and social care service for our citizens - which in the past has been an area of great confusion.
Tackling health inequalities through early intervention and prevention is one of my key priorities since being appointed to this portfolio. The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the impact of years of austerity have had a significant impact on our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
Being a Health Food City is one of my key priorities, as far too many families, putting a meal on the table each day is a struggle. The work that we are leading on focuses on helping citizens overcome the barriers they face in accessing affordable, healthy and sustainable food.
Eating well underpins much of our physical and mental health. The food economy should be vibrant; it should reflect the diversity of our communities; and it should be financially successful and sustainable. The system should contribute to a circular economy for food which reduces waste, increases valuable employment opportunities for local people, minimises environmental harm and maximises the local assets.
Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. She co-founded and co-directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre (www.steps-centre.org) from 2006 – 2014. As a social anthropologist she has carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa while engaging with scientific, policy and public discourses and debates around health, sustainability and development. She has led numerous interdisciplinary, policy-engaged research programmes in Africa and beyond. Amongst external roles, she was vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth 2012 – 2017, lead author of the 2016 World Social Science Report 2016 on Challenging Inequalities and the UN Women’s World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). She was the lead social scientist in the UK/WHO responses to the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak and co-led the award-winning Ebola Response Anthropology Platform. She is now working on COVID-19 as co-lead of the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform and the Wellcome Trust-funded Pandemic Preparedness Project. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2017 was awarded a CBE for Services to Social Science.
Professor Robin May
University of Birmingham - seconded to the Food Standards Agency
I am Professor of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Institute of Microbiology & Infection at the University of Birmingham. I hold an ERC Consolidator Award and a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society.
My early training was in Plant Sciences (University of Oxford) followed by a PhD on mammalian cell biology with Prof. Laura Machesky (University College London & University of Birmingham). From 2001-2004 I was a Human Frontier Science Program fellow with Prof. Ronald Plasterk at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, working on RNA interference mechanisms. In 2005 I obtained a Research Council UK Fellowship to establish my own group at the University of Birmingham. In 2010 I was awarded a Lister Fellowship and in 2013 I was presented with the Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society. I currently hold a Consolidator Award from the European Research Council and previously served as a co-director of the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
My research interests focus on host-pathogen interactions and, in particular in understanding how some pathogens are able to subvert the innate immune system. Much of our work is aimed at improving the treatment or prevention of opportunistic infections in patients with impaired immunity, such as HIV-positive individuals, patients in critical care, or people with long-term immune-compromising conditions.
Dr John Ingram is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford.
His interests are in the conceptual framing of food systems; the interactions among the many food system actors and their varied activities, and the outcomes of their activities for food security, livelihoods, enterprise and business, and environment; scenario analysis; and food system resilience.
He has designed and led regional food system research projects in Europe, south Asia, southern Africa and the Caribbean and has conceived, developed and/or led a range of major international research initiatives. He has had substantial interaction with FAO, UNEP and CGIAR and many other international organisations, with national departments and agencies, with NGOs, and with businesses in the food sector, helping to establish research on the links between food security and environment through the analysis of food systems.
In addition to leading the Food Systems Transformation Research Group within Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, he leads the multi-university post-graduate ‘Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning’ programme (IFSTAL); co-leads the Foresight4Food (F4F) and Food System Impact Valuation (FoodSIVI) programmes; and coordinated the 2016-2021 Global Food Security £15m programme ‘Resilience of the UK Food System’.
Gwen was appointed CEO of Save the Children in July 2021, after having joined the charity in 2018 as Executive Director of Global Programmes in March 2018. She has worked in international development for 20 years, most recently as International Programmes Director at the Department for International Development (DFID), where she led the Multilateral Development Review, benchmarking 41 organisation and identifying areas for improvement.In
Prior to that she was UK Executive Director for the World Bank Group (2012-2015), where she helped to broker major reforms to the Bank's procurement and evaluation policies and provided oversight of Britain's $5bn funding. Gwen has also held the post of Country Director for DFID in Bangladesh and Malawi, and she has played a variety of strategic roles shaping the UK's engagement with Africa through the G8, DFID's strategy on HIV/AIDS, and approaches to EU enlargement.
Professor Roberta Sonnino
Professor of Sustainable Food Systems, Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey
Dr Helen Ferrier is Chief Science and Regulatory Affairs Adviser at the National Farmers’ Union, leading the NFU’s policy and advocacy work on agricultural and horticultural science and research, biotechnology, data, and food safety. Helen is a non-executive Director of the NIAB Board and is a member of many other boards, groups and panels in the agrifood and research community. Before joining the NFU in 2004, Helen was a research scientist at Imperial College London, working on probabilistic modelling of dietary exposure to pesticides. She has an academic background in environment and human health, epidemiology and environmental science.
Global R&D Technology Lead, Cocoa Life, Mondelez International
Clare Stirling is a Principal Scientist at Mondelez International where she is currently leading cocoa crop science research to overcome sustainability challenges in cocoa agriculture that also align with MDLZ’s Net Zero by 2050 pathway with emphasis on higher, more stable yields, improved input efficiencies, integrated soil fertility management and carbon sequestration. Prior to joining Mondelez at the beginning of 2019, Clare was a senior scientist in agriculture and climate change at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) where her research focussed on smallholder wheat and maize based cropping systems in Africa and Asia. Clare has over 80 publications stretching across 25 years’ of research on climate change and tropical agricultural.