Makerere-Bergen forskerskole


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MBRS course

Sustainable Food Systems

This PhD course combines insights from natural sciences, health sciences, natural resource management, and social science approaches to see how we can ensure sustainable production, distribution, preparation, consumption, and waste/loss management of food.

Dried chillies
Inger Elisabeth Måren, UiB.


Course leaders
Dorothy Nakimbugwe, Makerere University
Inger Måren, University of Bergen

Course description
This course seeks participants interested in combining insights from natural sciences, health sciences and natural resource management with social science approaches to ensure sustainable production, distribution, preparation, consumption, and waste/loss management of food.

Today, food systems are complex and interconnected, and linked to changes in the environment and climate system, trade, food policies, technology, agro-biodiversity, water availability, demography, wealth and dietary patterns, creating food insecurity, environmental degradation, and under- and over-nutrition, in the global South as well as in the global North.

The rise of the climate and environmental crises present a serious challenge to food systems, and the need for policies that make both production and consumption more sustainable while still ensuring food security is pressing. This is also crucial for meeting the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the food system relates to all the 17 SDGs.

Food concerns everybody and relates to economy, class, ethnicity, religion, social norms and ethics, and drivers and trends are constantly changing in a changing world. We will focus on nutritional and environmental impacts of our food system from a One Health perspective.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge - be able to:

  • identify key elements of the food system, and how these relate to the sustainability agenda
  • describe trade-offs and synergies between the most relevant SDGs (and targets) 
  • explain key drivers of food security, good nutrition and sustainable land use

Skills - be able to:

  • describe the main challenges for sustainable food systems grounded in evidence-based knowledge
  • identify different stakeholders and recognise their motivations
  • apply an interdisciplinary perspective on food systems, food security, health and the environment

General competence - be able to:

  • find, navigate, and connect scientific literature and other forms of knowledge
  • participate constructively in discussions
  • identify and utilize actionable knowledge for sustainable development

Course leaders

Inger Elisabeth Måren, Professor in Applied Ecology, and UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Heritage and Environmental Management, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen. My research focuses on the dynamics in social-ecological systems, including natural resource management, sustainable land-use, ecosystem services, agroecology, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and sustainable food systems. I have a multi-disciplinary background, and work with colleagues across the social and natural sciences to elucidate links between anthropogenic activities and the environment, in Europe, as well as in South-Asia, North America and East-Africa. I’ve developed several cross-disciplinary sustainability courses, and I am the deputy leader of CeSAM (Centre for Sustainable Area Management).

Dorothy Nakimbugwe, Associate Professor, Department of Food Technology & Nutrition, Makerere University. I have made significant contributions to developing, characterising, introducing, and promoting locally processed, nutritious foods in Uganda. Since 2015, I have been engaged in research to unlock the potential of insects as alternative sources of protein for food and feed. I have led and collaborated in over 30 international research consortia and (co)-authored over 30 scientific peer reviewed articles as well as mass media articles, given television and radio interviews and made presentations to different audiences. A board member of several businesses, NGOs, and academic organisations.

Literature list