Food and Agriculture awards

The Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI) are celebrating the exceptional work of staff and students that aligns with the goals of our Institute through a series of awards.

The criteria for each award can be found under the 'Awards criteria' section of this page. 

GFEI goals

We envisage a radically different global food system, which works with nature and provides everybody with access to safe and nutritious food.

Our aim is to develop enduring solutions that help bring about transformative change to create a food system that is socially-just, climate-smart and goes beyond sustainability; able to adapt vigorously to enhance the future habitability of our planet. 

You can find more information about our goals on the GFEI website.

GFEI themes

The GFEI focuses its research around 4 core themes:

  1. Agriculture and environment
  2. Global partnerships
  3. AgriFood supply chains
  4. Urban food systems

Awards criteria 

Best Paper award

We are looking for the most exciting research paper in food and agriculture published since January 2019.

The paper needs to demonstrate an outstanding breakthrough in food and agriculture science within any of the four GFEI themes.

Please submit the paper along with a 300-word description of why this is a groundbreaking piece of research.

This award is open to all University of Leeds staff and students.

Best Figure or Graphic award

This award celebrates the best figure or graphic in Food and Agriculture within the four GFEI themes that explains complex information in an accessible and inviting way.

This could be a graph, info-gram or diagram explaining a concept, results of research or process.

Please submit the figure along with a description of the figure and when and where it has been presented.

This award is open to all University of Leeds staff and students.

Biggest Societal Impact award

This award celebrates those who have been working to create change within society.

Have you been working with central or local government to create change? Produced a policy brief? Worked with a local community group to affect change in a local area? Worked with a network to improve processes in the food system?

We want to hear about these achievements.

Please submit a half page description of the work along with any attachments to support the statement.

This award is open to all University of Leeds staff and students.

Mission of the Institute award

This award is for the person or group that has best supported the mission of the Institute to improve food systems.

Please submit a half page description about the activity that supported the GFEI aim listed in the GFEI goals section of this page.

This award is open to all University of Leeds staff and students.

Rising Star award

This award is open to ECRs demonstrating outstanding contributions (holding an event, body of work, webinar, presentation or paper) within the four GFEI themes.

ECRs are PhD students and post-doctoral researchers who are within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or are within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any career break periods.

Please submit a one-page academic CV outlining your key achievements to date that demonstrate a significant contribution to your selected theme in the areas of research, impact, policy engagement or innovation.

There will be four winners under this category (one related to each theme). Each winner will be invited to deliver a five-minute talk on their research as part of the GFEI Symposium on Wednesday 22 September 2021.


Many thanks to everyone who nominated a colleague, student or themselves. It was fantastic to see such a wide range of nominations.

University of Leeds staff and students, please join us at our symposium on Wednesday 22 September to hear the winners of the Rising Star awards present a five-minute presentation on their research. 

A huge congratulations to our prize winners: 

Best Paper award

Dr Evangelos Pournaras, School of Computing

Dr Evangelos Pournaras is an Associate Professor at the University of Leeds and a research associate at UCL Center of Blockchain Technologies. He has research experience at ETH Zurich, EPFL, TU Delft and IBM Watson.

Evangelos has won the Augmented Democracy Prize, the first prize at ETH Policy Challenge and five other paper awards. Evangelos’ research interest is on distributed and intelligent social computing applied to sustainable Smart Cities. 

Read the winning paper

Best Figure or Graphic award

Alice Garvey is a first year PhD student at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), researching the concept of a ‘spatially just’ low carbon transition for the UK’s regions and industries.

Alice previously worked at the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), with research including demand-side strategies to reduce the UK’s food footprint. 

See the winning graphic

Biggest Societal Impact award

Dr Katie Adolphus, Human Appetite Research Unit, School of Psychology

Dr Katie Adolphus is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the effects of breakfast on cognitive function in children and adolescents. She is currently undertaking an MRC Fellowship at King’s College London investigating dietary modulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

She is also an AfN Registered nutritionist (two specialist areas of competence: Food Industry Nutritionist and Nutrition Scientist) and had previously worked in the food industry as a commercial nutritionist.

Dr Adolphus also has expertise in nutrition and health claims legislation and authorisation process in the context of nutrition and cognitive function. She has previously led the compilation of a dossier for submission to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), pursuant to a proprietary health claim under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation. 

Mission of the Institute award

Dr Effie Papargyropoulou, School of Earth and Environment

Dr Effie Papargyropoulou is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist interested in making our food systems more sustainable, healthier and fairer. Her research is challenge-led and collaborative.

Through her research, Effie develops ways to prevent food waste and achieve food security. She is the lead for the new, innovative course MSc Sustainable Food Systems, which brings together food expertise from across the University of Leeds. 

Rising Star award

Rising Star – AgriFood Supply Chains award

Clare James, School of Law

Clare James is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Law. Prior to returning to university, she worked as a veterinary surgeon.

Her research considers how the right to food could be implemented in the UK. This process will create a rights-based approach to many components of agrifood supply chains, including government policy relating to agriculture and food, the role of international trade, and the importance of stake-holder participation from small holders to large multinational corporations. 

Rising Star – Agriculture and Environment award

Dr Laura Carter, School of Geography

Dr Laura Carter is a University Academic Fellow and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at Leeds. Laura’s research focuses on understanding the risk of emerging contaminants in the natural environment, with particular focus on soil-plant systems.

On-going projects in her research group are seeking to elucidate the contribution of pharmaceutical manufacturing discharge to the development of antimicrobial resistance and understanding risks of pharmaceuticals in agricultural systems, following land application of sludges and reuse of wastewater.    

Rising Star – Food in the Global South award

Dr Stewart Jennings, School of Earth and Environment

Dr Stewart Jennings studied Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford from 2008-2011 and completed a MSc in Quantitative Biology from Imperial College London in 2013. Stewart started their PhD at the University of Leeds in 2013, working on the abiotic and biotic impacts of climate change on potato yields globally.

Stewart started working on the GCRF-AFRICAP (Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy) project in 2018. Their role in the project is crop-climate, land use and livestock modelling, as well as helping to coordinate the stakeholder-driven elements of the modelling framework. 

Stewart works principally on crop modelling using the General Large Area model for annual crops (GLAM). Stewart has previously focused on potato modelling with GLAM but now studies a range of crops in sub-Saharan Africa, including maize, soybean and groundnut. 

In the past their work has also featured analyses of climate change impacts on pest and diseases, as well as the differences in model skill when using different levels of parameter detail and spatial scales of input data. 

Rising Star – Urban Food Systems joint award

Dr Ruairi O’Driscoll, School of Psychology

Dr Ruairi O’Driscoll is a research fellow at the University of Leeds, working in the appetite control and energy balance group. He has recently been awarded a PhD titled: Computational Approaches to the Estimation of the Components of Energy Balance in Humans.

His work focuses on modelling large datasets collected from wearable devices to estimate energy expenditure, and through the application of mathematical models, energy intake in free-living humans.  

Rising Star – Urban Food Systems joint award

Dr Eleonora Morganti, Institute for Transport Studies

Dr Eleonora Morganti is currently a University Academic Fellow in Food Consumption, Distribution and Sustainability at the University of Leeds, sharing her work between the School of Food Science and Nutrition and the Institute for Transport Studies. Eleonora is part of the Urban Food Observatory at GFEI and her research focuses on the last mile for food, looking at how sustainable is food transport and distribution in urban areas.

Most recently, Eleonora focused on the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown on online food access and distribution, in particular how to guarantee access to healthy and affordable food to the whole population and to preserve diversified food distribution systems to increase the resilience at local level.