Five research partnership awards will advance understanding of the food-energy-water-environment interactions and support actions to improve their sustainability.

£500,000 of funding from the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Nexus Network will enable researchers to build meaningful interdisciplinary research collaboration in locations across both the UK and Africa. 

The studies form part of the Nexus Network portfolio; a three-year initiative to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked domains of food, energy, water and the environment (known as the ‘nexus’).

James Wilsdon, Director of the Nexus Network and Professor of Research Policy, University of Sheffield says:

"As the international community moves towards implementation of the UN’s new global goals, the provision of evidence, analysis and expert advice across the food-water-energy nexus has never been more vital. The ESRC Nexus Network is delighted to be investing £500,000 in these five projects, which together will make a significant contribution to this agenda from UK social science. By spanning disciplinary, national and sectoral boundaries, these projects should help researchers, policymakers, businesses and civil society to navigate the nexus more intelligently."

​The five projects are:

  • Improving organic resource use in rural Ethiopia
    Professor Euan Phimister, University of Aberdeen
    This project will increase understanding of the interactions between food, energy and water, associated with organic resource use in two different districts of Southern Ethiopia. 
  • Biomass fuel at the nexus: Policy lessons from bottom-up perspectives in urban Ghana
    Dr Sujatha Raman, University of Nottingham
    This study will investigate how urban households and charcoal producers in Ghana experience, envision and manage the nexus and develop and disseminate the implications of this bottom-up understanding for national and international policies.   
  • Unravelling complexity: Understanding the land-water-food nexus in Elgeyo-Marakwet, north-west Kenya
    Professor Henrietta Moore, UCL (University College London)
    This research will draw together interdisciplinary experts, policymakers, and local community members to explore the land-water-food nexus in north-west Kenya.
  • Reshaping the nexus at home: Engaging policy understandings of kitchen practices and how they can change
    Dr Matt Watson, University of Sheffield
    This project will engage with key policy partners to apply new social science understandings of what goes on in home kitchens. This will inform interventions aimed at changing demand for water, energy and food, including through understanding their inter-dependencies and trade-offs.
  • The energy-climate-food security nexus: Developing a multi-stakeholder deliberative governance model in Northern Ireland
    Professor Sally Shortall, Queens University Belfast
    This project explores and addresses the regional impacts in Northern Ireland of the global energy-climate-food security nexus, focused on global energy availability and climate change and their impacts on regional food security.