Innovation in Agricultural and Food Systems for Food Security

The thematic module Food Security has five running transnational research partnership projects between 10 countries and Switzerland. A geographical focus lies on West Africa.

photo collage Food Security 


One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was the eradication of poverty and hunger; by 2015, the proportion of people suffering from hunger should be halved. Despite considerable success in poverty reduction, the food security crises in various parts of the world highlight the intrinsic fragility of systems, notably because of the global interconnectedness and dependency on trade. To meet the goal of global food security the world has to deal with various challenges, such as:

  • A growing world population. To feed the 9 billion people expected by 2050 (2 billion more than present), 70 to 100 % more food will be needed than at present.
  • An increasing demand for processed food (meat, dairy etc.) as per capita wealth increases.
  • An increasing use of agricultural products and land for energy production.
  • Increasing threats caused by climate change.
  • Greater competition for land and water.

Meeting the growing demand for food in a changing global context and in an environmentally and socially sustainable way demands innovative approaches with respect to food production, processes, distribution and access. The emphasis of this thematic module is therefore on the improvement of agricultural production and innovation systems in view of fostering a political, economic and societal framework for global food security.

The three main research topics of the module are:

  • Sustainability of agricultural and food systems, natural resources and resilience
  • Agricultural innovation, extension and research into use
  • Governance and policies for the future world food system


Review Panel

  • Professor Dr. Anthony Whitbread, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad, India (Panel President)
  • Dr. Eve Fouilleux, Research Director at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Société (LISIS), University of Paris-Est-Marne-la-Vallée
  • Dr. Laura Hammond, University of London, United Kingdom
  • Ueli Mauderli, Global Program Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Berne, Switzerland (SDC Delegate)
  • Professor Dr. Stuart Lane, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (National Research Council Delegate)
  • Dr. Alpha Kamara, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kano, Nigeria
  • Professor Dr. Joachim Sauerborn, University of Hohenheim, Germany
  • Professor Dr. Hermann Waibel, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany​

Research Network



The five r4d projects in the thematic module Food Security started in 2014. They represent transnational research partnerships between 10 countries and Switzerland, involving 37 grantees.


r4d Forum 2015 Ecosystems and Food Security, Filzbach, Switzerland, 18-19 March 2015

 Ongoing projects



Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation, and the Right to Food (DEMETER)Land Commercialization, Gendered Agrarian Transformation, and the Right to Food (DEMETER)

Further information on this content

Policy Brief




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​Call Document