Food security – ensuring quality and sustainability

Improving agricultural and aquaculture productivity
Our research programs focus on understanding and providing solutions for production-limiting diseases and improving fertility of farm animals by using advanced reproductive technologies.

The role of agriculture and aquaculture in food security is paramount. The United Nations Committee on World Food Security defines 'food security' as having the physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

Food is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN's development agenda for the 21st century. Achieving food security requires a profound change of the global agriculture system including but not exclusive of doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, sustainable food production systems and increasing investment in agriculture.

Our research programs aim to provide solutions for production-limiting diseases and enhance the efficiency of breeding programs using advanced reproductive technologies, to help improving agricultural and aquaculture productivity of food producers.


Research areas

Key researchers: Roslyn Bathgate, Simon de Graaf, Christopher Grupen

Improving and preserving the fertility of farm and wildlife animals is the focus of our research endeavours.

To achieve this goal, we strive to better understand the underlying reproductive biology in different species, develop strategies to enhance the efficiency of breeding programs, and refine the application of advanced reproductive technologies.

In livestock species, this contributes to greater productivity and food security, while in wildlife species, this supports conservation efforts to maintain genetic diversity.

Key researchers: Francisca Samsing PedralsRuth ZadoksJoy Becker.

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food-producing sectors on the planet. Recent increases in production, however, have largely been achieved through intensification of existing farming systems, resulting in higher risks of disease.

Our research program focuses on understanding and providing solutions for production-limiting diseases of aquatic animals, considering the role of the host, microorganisms and our management of their environment.

We use an array of tools including epidemiology, immunology, microbiology, and ‘omics to investigate diseases affecting farmed and wild fish populations.

We also work on the development of novel technologies for the sustainable increase of aquaculture production and the improvement of fish welfare.