Dr Simon Fraval

Harnessing data in pursuit of efficient and sustainable food production for international markets

This TRAIN@Ed fellowship aims to assess the sustainability of food production in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Food producing locations in LMICs bare a disproportionate burden of global undernutrition, while at the same time the incomes of rural dwellers are increasingly vulnerable to climatic variation and other deteriorations in environmental systems. These conditions are forecast to deteriorate further as populations increase and environmental safeguards remain weak. Our best understanding of these nutritional and environmental conditions are either based on detailed data collection with limited spatial extent or coarse modelling with a lot of uncertainty attached.

As part of Edinburgh University’s Data-Driven Innovation programme, this fellowship seeks to apply state-of-the-art remote sensing, crop growth models, artificial intelligence and Bayesian statistical methods to bridge this gap between micro and the macro level understanding – informing decision making for improved human nutrition and environmental sustainability. This is a collaborative effort between the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, the International Livestock Research Institute and other partners.

Research activities will generate pre-commercial products of use to farmers in sub-national LMIC locations, as well as reproducible analysis to inform national and regional policy and interventions. Through high-frequency monitoring of farm systems, pre-commercial products will help farmers decide on resource allocation and insurance coverage for long-term profitability and environmental sustainability. Similarly, monitoring of wide spatial scales with consistent metrics will enhance the design of policies for improved human nutrition and environmental sustainability.

Through data-driven innovation, this research will empower decision makers at different levels to contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future.

This TRAIN@Ed project has received funding from the DDI programme, ILRI and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801215.

For more information visit Edinburgh Research Explorer Profile.

Crunching data to feed the world: COP26 Article. 

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Dr Simon Fraval
Dr Simon Fraval

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