A Vision for Transdisciplinarity in Future Earth: Perspectives from Young Researchers

  • Marta G. Rivera-Ferre University of Vic
  • Laura Pereira Harvard University
  • Timothy Karpouzoglou Stockholm University
  • Kimberly A. Nicholas Lund University
  • Sheila Onzere University of Minnesota
  • Wilma Waterlander University of Auckland
  • Fawzi Mahomoodally University of Mauritius
  • Anton Vrieling University of Twente
  • Fola D. Babalola University of Pretoria
  • Caroline C. Ummenhofer Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Atul Dogra International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
  • Aline de Conti University of Sao Paulo; Food and Drug Administration, USA
  • Susanne Baldermann Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops; University of Potsdam
  • Chijioke Evoh Economic and Urban Policy Analysts (ECONUPA)
  • Silke Bollmohr University of Johannesburg
Keywords: Agri-food Systems Research, Future Earth, Sustainability, Trandisciplinarity

Abstract

Meeting the demand for food, energy, and water as world population increases is a major goal for the food systems of the future. These future challenges, which are complex, multiscalar, and cross-sectoral in nature, require a food systems approach that recognizes the socio-ecological and socio-technical dimensions of food (Ericksen, 2008; Ingram, 2011; Rivera-Ferre, 2012). The United Nations' Future Earth Program aims to provide a new platform for consolidating the knowledge required for societies to transition to global sustainability (Future Earth Transition Team, 2012). In this paper, we explore how Future Earth could become a vehicle for inspiring the production of new research ideas and collaborations for sustainably transforming the future food system. We do this on the basis of a synthesis of views from 28 young (below 40 years old) food system scientists, representing five continents. Their expertise comes from disciplines including food engineering, agronomy, ecology, geography, psychology, public health, food politics, nutritional science, political science, sociology and sustainability science. This paper begins with an outline of the institutional framework of Future Earth and how it might support innovative transdisciplinary research on food systems, and the position of young scientists within this framework. Secondly, we outline the key insights expressed by the young scientists during the Food Futures Conference in Villa Vigoni, Italy, in April 2013, including the core research questions raised during the meeting as well as some of the challenges involved in realizing their research ambitions within their professional spheres.

Author Biographies

Marta G. Rivera-Ferre, University of Vic
Department of Food and Environment, University of Vic. 08550-Vic (Barcelona), Spain.
Laura Pereira, Harvard University
Sustainability Science Program, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, USA.
Timothy Karpouzoglou, Stockholm University
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Kimberly A. Nicholas, Lund University
Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Lund, Sweden.
Sheila Onzere, University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota, Community Food Systems Program, USA.
Wilma Waterlander, University of Auckland
National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Fawzi Mahomoodally, University of Mauritius
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Mauritius.
Anton Vrieling, University of Twente
Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, The Netherlands.
Fola D. Babalola, University of Pretoria
Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA), University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Caroline C. Ummenhofer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts USA.
Atul Dogra, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), India.
Aline de Conti, University of Sao Paulo; Food and Drug Administration, USA
Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; and Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, USA.
Susanne Baldermann, Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops; University of Potsdam
Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops Großbeeren/Erfurt e.V.; Institute of Nutritional Science, University of Potsdam, Germany.
Chijioke Evoh, Economic and Urban Policy Analysts (ECONUPA)
Policy Analyst, Economic and Urban Policy Analysts (ECONUPA), USA.
Silke Bollmohr, University of Johannesburg
Centre for Aquatic Research, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Published
2013-10-01
How to Cite
Rivera-Ferre, M., Pereira, L., Karpouzoglou, T., Nicholas, K., Onzere, S., Waterlander, W., Mahomoodally, F., Vrieling, A., Babalola, F., Ummenhofer, C., Dogra, A., de Conti, A., Baldermann, S., Evoh, C., & Bollmohr, S. (2013). A Vision for Transdisciplinarity in Future Earth: Perspectives from Young Researchers. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 249–260. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.034.031