The Agri Futures Lab is a virtual Centre focused on the delivery of multi-disciplinary solutions to the current and future problems facing the agri-sciences disciplines and sectors. It draws its members from all Faculties and Departments across Imperial College, creating a forum for cross-fertilisation of research, knowledge transfer and end-user engagement.
Some of the major challenges facing current society are due to the ever- increasing world population, which is putting enormous demands upon the food, fibre and fuel requirements. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation predicts that to keep up with population growth by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by an estimated 70% globally and by 100% in developing countries. In parallel, energy demands are also projected to increase by up to 50% in the next twenty years. This means that there is a clear need for innovation and technology to increase agricultural productivity in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way.
The AFL aims to:
- Provide opportunities to facilitate the development of high-impact multidisciplinary research targeted at the world’s grand challenges of Food and Fuel Security;
- Stimulate the development of platform technologies and next-generation solutions for the agri-sciences addressing the needs of agri-tech industries;
- Showcase the cutting edge science and innovation at Imperial College London and connect innovators with new academic researchers, commercial partners and policy makers.
The AFL supports a multidisciplinary approach: It will be vital that both existing and new technologies be applied across the agri-sciences. Multidisciplinary approaches being the drivers enabling this through collaboration to facilitate the cross-fertilisation of new multi-disciplinary research ideas. Engagement with policy makers, industry and end-user stakeholders will help to provide a realistic and accurate problem-led pull for new technologies and insert an additional technical push into technologies that have already been established. In addition, interactions across sectors, e.g. with the pharmaceutical sector, will facilitate the translation of research discoveries towards agri-sciences applications.