Food For Thought Network Food For Thought Network

The University of East Anglia ‘Food for Thought’ Business Network is a collaboration between UEA and the regional agri-food industry, the largest sector in the Eastern region. An outcome driven, free to join business network, The Food for Thought Network seeks to exploit the potential synergies between academics (seeking to impact to their research), students (seeking ‘real world’ experience) and businesses (seeking practical solutions to sector-wide problems).

Building on existing research projects at UEA and burgeoning collaborations between key stakeholders across the Eastern region, the network is designed to deliver a number of pilot projects that will tackle key issues identified by stakeholders at all stages of the supply chain. It will demonstrate the benefits of business collaboration, information sharing and evidence-based decision-making. The network aims to provide the foundations for a programme of collaborative research that will provide a catalyst for change in the way businesses think, take decisions and work with their trading partners, in pursuit of sustainable growth and a more resilient agri-food sector.

UEA plays a key facilitating role within the ‘Food for Thought’ network; hosting meetings and network events and providing resources (staff, students and funding for pilot projects) to work with a group of core partner organisations, representing the interests of all stakeholders in the agri-food sector.

Quarterly network meetings are held to discuss key challenges and opportunities, prioritise pilot projects and identify key stakeholders, many of whom will be drawn from established networks held by the members of the partner group. The pilot projects vary in their focus but are designed to generate insights that will be of relevance beyond the project participants and that will be of potential benefit to the sector as a whole. The expectation is that some of these pilot projects will lead to further/deeper levels of engagement and collaboration, for which external funding will be sought.

If you work in the agri-food industry within East Anglia and would like to join the ‘Food For Thought’ Business network please contact Professor Andrew Fearne, a.fearne@uea.ac.uk and join our LinkedIn group.