Call for Applications: Speak Up for Food Security 2019 (United Kingdom)

Applications for the ‘Speak Up for Food Security’ are now open to United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) council-funded PhD students and post-docs who recognise the food security implications of their research. This new science communication competition launched by the Global Food Security programme is aimed at equipping early-stage researchers with the knowledge and communication skills to propose and facilitate the necessary changes to transform our food system for health and sustainability.

The Prize

  • The winner will get the opportunity to speak on food security alongside GFS and BBC presenter Dr Adam Rutherford at Cheltenham Science Festival 2019 (6-9 June)
  • In addition, all shortlisted applicants will get to attend an immersive 2-day masterclass, where they will receive engaging and personalised training in communicating their research to non-specialist audiences, as well as a unique and interdisciplinary networking opportunity
  • Travel, accommodation and meals will be provided
  • Reasonable costs of childcare or other caring responsibilities to enable participation during the masterclass will also be provided

The competition

This competition will challenge early career researchers to develop engaging 3-minute talks about their research in the context of food security and the wider food system, using nothing but narrative and/or small props (cue cards are allowed). Successful applicants will be asked to prepare a draft of their talk in advance of the masterclass, where the talk will be refined over the course of the two days. The competition will take place on the second day, and will be judged by a panel of researchers and communicators based on the substance, story and style of the talks. The following questions are designed to help successful applicants develop their 3-minute talks prior to the competition:

  • Substance: How does your research address the global food security challenge? What intervention(s) does your research suggest we need to adopt? How might these changes affect other parts of the food system?
  • Story: Is the narrative well-structured? Does it keep your audience engaged? Are you able to make the audience feel something?
  • Style: Does your enthusiasm and personality shine through while you are presenting? Are your gestures and language appropriate for this audience?
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In order to be eligible, researchers should:

  • Be currently undertaking a UKRI-funded PhD or post-doc at a UK Higher Education Institute, Research Institute, or Independent Research Organisation. (Researchers based outside of the UK will not be eligible.)
  • Be available to attend the masterclass in London on 14-15 March 2019.
  • Be available to attend the Cheltenham Science Festival on 6-9 June (exact date TBC).

Application Process

To apply, please answer each of the following questions in a document entitled “GFS SpeakUp Application [Your name]”. Your answers will be used to assess your application and eligibility. Please note that your academic publication or research track record is not of primary interest here. Of greater interest is evidence of your ability to communicate your research clearly and concisely in lay terms, and your understanding of how your research feeds into the global food security challenge.

  1. Please provide:
    a) Your name and institution
    b) The UKRI council grant reference number of your PhD/post doc
    c) Your general research area (e.g. biological sciences, economics, engineering, environmental sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, etc.)
  2. Are you available to attend:
    a) The research communication masterclass on 14-15 March 2019?
    b) Cheltenham Science Festival on 6-9 June 2019 (exact date TBC)?
  3. Please provide a brief summary of your research in an easily accessible way. (150 words)
  4. How does your research feed into the broader global food security challenge? (150 words; see definition here)
  5. Why would you like to participate in the Speak Up for Food Security competition? (150 words)

Please send your completed application to


Application Deadline: Sunday 24 February 2019

Visit the official site for more information

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