IFSTAL Symposium: Technology – a silver bullet for the food system?

Date and Time: 

Saturday, January 28, 2017 - 09:45 to 18:00

IFSTAL's first public symposium will be on the theme of technology. It will bring together academics, students, and professionals from a range of sectors to discuss the role of technology in future food systems.

The day will be shaped around three sessions with the themes of:

  1. Production,
  2. Processing and distribution, and
  3. Consumption and waste,

It will conclude with a final session being a directed panel debate. By the end of the
day, we will aim to have covered the following questions:

  • What do we mean by the term 'technology' and how is it perceived?
  • What role is technology currently playing in food systems?
  • In what ways is technology likely to feature in the future?
  • How might these address the challenges of environmental change and food security?
  • How does technology interact with social, cultural, political and economic systems in relation to food?
  • What are the limitations and potentials of technology within food systems?


The event is free for students and IFSTAL staff, but there is a small contribution for others (Rate 1 - Delegate place - Public sector, higher education and industry - £40; Rate 2 - Delegate  place – NGO – £20) to secure your place, this small fee towards the catering costs needs to be paid through Oxford University’s site in addition to your Eventbrite registration. This can be done here: http://bit.ly/2hq1rbV and will also be sent to you in your Eventbrite confirmation email.

For the programme, further information and to register for your place, please go to the Eventbrite page.



Great Hall Lecture Theatre, Royal Veterinary College, London


Session One: Production
Chair: Alex Arnall, University of Reading

Production around the globe is changing (and needs to change) as it strives to meet demands for greater outputs using fewer resources, whilst additionally being healthier, causing less ecological damage, and managing diseases. In this session our panellists discuss what this might look like, how technology is being adapted for local, global, small and large scale systems, and what the low- and high-tech innovations are being employed and developed within plant and animal production.

This session includes presentations from:
The role of technology in fruit and vegetable production - Dr Rosemary Collier, Director, University of Warwick Crop Centre
Technology and innovation in European Organic Livestock Systems: Experience from the SOLID project and TP organics - Dr Susanne Padel, Senior Programme Manager, The Organic Research Centre
Technological developments in poultry production - Ian Lowery, Partner Veterinarian, Crowshall Veterinary Services LLP
Final speaker TBC

Session Two: Processing and Distribution
Chair: Barbara Haesler, Royal Veterinary College

One of the greatest challenges in the food sector is preserving, processing, transporting and delivering food efficiently, effectively and safely for the consumer, as well as meeting the consumers' demands for food preferences. Our panelists will describe some of the ways this is being addressed within their fields. There will also be reflection on the extent to which technologies are needed, the difficulties they face, and the opportunities they present within this area.
This session includes presentations from:
Quality management in fresh produce supply chains - Dr Carol Wagstaff, Associate Professor and Director of Food ATP, University of Reading
Designing food’s structure for functionality - Prof. Tim Foster, Professor in Food Structure, Head of Food Sciences, University of Nottingham
Title tbc - Julie Brown, Director, Growing Communities
Final speaker TBC

Session Three: Consumption and Waste
Chair: Corinna Hawkes, City, University of London
Some of the major challenges facing the UK food system relate to consumption and waste. We have a growing and costly obesity crisis, a burgeoning food bank network and we throw away 15 million tonnes of food every year. Join us for this session in which expert panelists will discuss how technological developments have both contributed to and addressed these problems and how new technologies could help to solve them.
This session will include presentations from:
A decentralised approach to circular organic resource management - - Rokiah Yaman, Director, Community By Design
Title tbc - Ben Cullen, Community Marketing, Olio
Title tbc - Alan Hayes, IDG
Title tbc – Jane Dixon, City, University of London

Session Four: Panel Debate: Is Technology the Answer?
Prof. Erik Millstone, STEPS Centre
Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher, Econexus
Harley Stoddart, AHDB
Final panellist TBC

Exhibition (in the Lightwell)

Throughout the day you can get a closer look at some of the new and exciting technologies being developed within the IFSTAL network and further afield. From low-tech to high-tech we’ll be exhibiting gadgets and innovations developed to address some of the challenges facing global food systems. Whether it’s a new app to promote healthier eating or an eco-friendly solution to clean waste water, come and try for yourself the technologies that could be transforming food systems in the future.
If you would like to demonstrate a technology you work with/on in this area, please get in touch with Rebecca Wells, ifstal-city@city.ac.uk