Undergraduate to present on food security at international symposium

Third year Natural Sciences undergraduate student Sonal Chagan has been accepted as a speaker at the first UK International Student Sustainability Research Symposium on 15 April 2016 at the University of Southampton.

There she will present findings from her third year research project accompanied by a poster summarising her work.

Sonal’s project focuses on how genetics can be used to improve food security in the developing world. It considers how easy food is to acquire as well as how nutritious and safe it is for consumers. The project works towards the targets set in the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with a specific focus on Goal 2: Zero Hunger.

The third year research project is the culmination of the research-focused teaching on the Natural Sciences degree programme. Students undertake a large piece of individual research leading to the production of a thesis under the supervision of an academic member of staff. Research projects focus on an interdisciplinary topic and can be experimental, computational, analytical (or some combination of the three).

The research is broken down into topics to be discussed at the symposium. These include:

  • Hunger - using computer modelling to analyse levels of hunger around the world;
  • Nutrition - the production of more nutritious food using genetics;
  • Productivity - how to produce more food using genetics;
  • Sustainability - developing crops that are more resilient to climate changes to ensure sustainable future food production;
  • Genetic Diversity/Long-term Sustainability - preparing for future food security through seed banks and gene analysis.

Social, political and economic factors will be discussed in addition to the scientific focus of the project. Sonal will emphasise the importance of collaboration between developing and developed countries to achieve sustainable food security for the future.