UN Sustainable Development Group 2 - Zero Hunger

UN SDG 2: Zero Hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

SDG Outputs

We had 24 outputs relevant to this SDG in 2022 according to SciVal and 31 in 2021. See for example:

Magnone, D., et al. (2022) The impact of phosphorus on projected Sub-Saharan Africa food security futures. Nature Communications 13


Li, X. et al. (2022) Robotic crop row tracking around weeds using cereal-specific features. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 197



Food production central to the economy of Lincolnshire. Greater Lincolnshire produces an eighth of England's food, and the food sector from farm to fork supports 75,000 jobs (18% of the food-sector workforce). We are pleased to play our part in supporting Lincolnshire in its bid to become a top 10 global food cluster through its UK Food Valley programme. We have invested in two sector-leading institutes to help in this and to support our own ambition to become global leaders in agri-food technology, the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology (LIAT) and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM).

The Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology is a specialist research institute that aims to support and enhance productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in food and farming. Researchers are engaged in the development of technologies which add value or solve challenges across the food chain. A core aim is to connect academic expertise with industry to pursue world-class research and address real-world challenges, advancing technology improving the bottom line for business.


Both LIAT and NCFM collaborate vigorously with governments, businesses, and NGOs locally and globally to maximise the application of technology in the efficient production of nutritious and sustainable food and to influence relevant policy. Both frequently offer opportunities for local farmers and businesses to learn from and contribute to research programmes, with regular events such as the ‘Breakfast Briefings’, open to all who are interested in learning from practitioners and researchers, and many now available online. They also share knowledge through participation in significant events in the Lincolnshire calendar such as The Lincolnshire Show (attended by schools, families, and farmers) and Cereals. Our annual Lambing Sunday offers a public insight into our sustainable farming ethos and is very popular locally as are regular targeted open days for farmers, businesses, and policymakers. Our food outlets on campus use our farm produced lamb and beef where possible, and ensure a full range of food options including, vegetarian, gluten-free, and other specialist diets. We also measure food waste and are taking steps to reduce it.

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) at Holbeach delivers high impact food-sector focused research designed to advance the industry at all points in the supply chain.  It is the anchor institution in the Lincolnshire Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone, set up in collaboration with LCC and GLLEP. Current initiatives include: digitalisation of the food sector to optimise productivity and advance quality assurance; industry focused carbon net zero and sustainability agendas; application of analytical techniques that unlock specific challenges of food quality, safety, and nutritional performance. They also deliver sector-leading training to working learners in the food manufacturing industry from across the UK and have received significant praise for their role in social mobility.

Automation in Horticulture Review

In view of current challenges in recruiting workers in agriculture and horticulture and the increased capability of robotic systems, Professor Simon Pearson, Director of LIAT, was asked by DEFRA to conduct a review of Automation in Horticulture and its ability to contribute to food security and food production. This was published in July 2022 and has been influential in shaping policy within DEFRA.

Educating the Next Generation

The Lincoln Institue for Agri-food Technology is educating the next generation of Agri-Food Technologists through its popular MSc programme in Agri-Food Technology, delivered to close to 100 students annually primarily from India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Graduates of this programme have gone on to take significant roles in the food industry in the UK and overseas. It has also delivered a significant proportion of the UK’s agronomy training over the past 10 years through BASIS and FACTS courses.

Robot Highways

Robot Highways, which is cited as Innovate UK's flagship project, is a joint vision for the future of soft fruit farming. It will be the largest known global demonstration of robotic and autonomous (RAS) technologies that fuse multiple application technologies across a single farming system. The trial will set to deliver a vision for the future of soft fruit farming, where robots will assist farmers by carrying out essential, energy intensive physical farm processes such as picking and packing fruit, and treating crops to reduce critical pests and diseases, powered by renewable energy. 

These technologies underpin industry sustainability by reducing sector reliance on seasonal labour, whilst upskilling the existing workforce, estimating a 40% reduction in the labour required.
Robot Highways will also provide solutions for moving the sector towards a carbon zero future. With an estimated 20% reduction in fruit waste, 90% reduction in fungicide use, huge reduction in the use of fossil fuel across all farm logistic operations, and a 15% increase in farm productivity.

Supporting the Seafood Sector

A key partnership including our National Centre for Food Manufacturing has secured part of the £220 million Growth Renewal Fund and will be used to position Grimsby as a global centre for seafood innovation and education. Grimsby and the surrounding area will benefit from almost £500,000 to develop programmes that will grow the local seafood industry with improved skills, technology and innovation. The programme will work alongside the UK Food Valley Pilot (Seafood) and will help to cement Grimsby’s position as the world’s global seafood hub.

The project will address some of the industries main challenges, including the drive for sustainability, the need to digitalise, and moving towards carbon reduction. Eligible businesses can apply to receive an innovation and support package, along with an average of 12 hours one-to-one business support. Seafood businesses also have the opportunity to receive a grant of £3,000 to £9,999 to support activities that improve productivity and efficiency.

Addressing Food Insecurity in Africa

An Innovative project from the Department of Geography is examining the historical context of food insecurity in Africa. This project begins to redress this ‘compression’ of the colonial experience in Africa by presenting a new database of foodstuffs and food systems spanning over three centuries – from 1497 to 1840 – for the eastern seaboard of Africa and adjacent inland areas. The database, the first of its kind in Africa, contains information on the presence/absence and relative importance of foodstuffs and cultivation practices for 269 sites across the region, each identified by in-depth historical analysis of cartographic, textual and linguistic evidence.

The data provided evidence of long-term and abrupt shifts in agriculture and diets, but also of resistance, resilience and continuity in food systems. The project opens new horizons in a range of disciplines and spark new debates within and beyond the immediate field of study, including whether and how modern experiences of food (in)security and climate change impacts vary in ways that map onto historical patterns of capitalism and colonialism.

UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.