Knowledge for a sustainable world

Richard Lloyd Mills is an NRI PhD student who has just been awarded an £11,000 grant from the British Egg Marketing Board which will enable him to undertake further research into the genetic makeup of the Poultry Red Mite - a pest which affects chickens’ health and productivity. Richard took five minutes out of his day to Skype with Communications Officer Linden Kemkaran, about what inspired him to study this “tiny and annoyingly fast” little pest, and what the grant money means to his work.

NRI’s Dr Noushin Emami, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics, won a Stockholm Innovation award at the end of 2020, for her work on a novel and environmentally sustainable mosquito control product. The award, given by the City of Stockholm, is intended to stimulate creative people to move forward with their innovation.

NRI, together with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and their African partners, have made a significant scientific breakthrough in unlocking the genomes of whitefly species – tiny agricultural pests that causes enormous problems for farmers and horticulturalists. The scientists describe as “euphoric”, the moment they knew they’d solved the puzzle and effectively ‘unleashed the genie from the bottle’.

Every day, over two billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide, with the popularity of the beverage continuing to rise. Consumers can choose the strength, roast, origin, blend, style and ‘notes’ of their brew, with many also choosing to buy coffee that is certified ‘sustainable’, or with a ‘carbon-neutral’ label. How can farmers increase production to meet demand and sustain their livelihoods, whilst ensuring their beans are produced in a sustainable way?

Paul Hyatt confesses to being a life-long lover of all things geographic and that he felt like a ‘kid in a sweet shop’ when he studied with NRI at the University of Greenwich. Paul took five minutes out of his day to Skype with Communications Officer Linden Kemkaran, about his passion for fusing technology and geography and where it’s taken him during his long career.

Land degradation, climate change, pests and diseases, and lack of access to farm inputs and markets are some of the obstacles faced by millions of smallholder farmers in Africa who struggle to produce food for their families and secure an income.

The International Day of Women & Girls in Science takes place on the 11th February 2021. Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has increased its effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science; however, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science.

A ‘land grab’ can be described as the acquisition of large land areas by private companies, governments or individuals, without taking into account the land and resource rights of the communities settled there.

NRI’s Professor of Molecular Plant Pathology, Maruthi Gowda, has received the prestigious Hind Rattan award. The Hind Rattan, translated into English as "Jewel of India", is one of the highest awards granted annually to non-resident persons of Indian origin in recognition of their outstanding services, achievements, and contributions in their respective fields. It is awarded by the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Welfare Society of India and is celebrated on the 9th January every year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community in the development of India.

NRI is delighted to invite prospective PhD students to join its UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training – (UKFS-CDT). There will be a live presentation and Q&A session for potential applicants on Wednesday 3 February 2021, from 1700 – 1800 GMT.

If you would like to register for this event, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with your name and the email address to which you would like the event invitation to be sent. 

How will food security be further endangered by climate change? How do current global systems of producing and distributing food contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions? How is land degradation, including desertification, exacerbating and exacerbated by climate change? These questions are addressed in the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL), released in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.

‘Mobilizing’ just one cassava root takes an enormous amount of time, energy, logistics and hard work. Once harvested, this tropical root crop – an important staple food – needs to be processed quickly, for fresh cassava roots begin to deteriorate 72 hours after harvest.