Water covers 70 % of our planet, but only 3 % of it is fresh water. Two thirds is in frozen glaciers unavailable for our use. With the world experiencing increased water stress and water shortages, smart solutions are urgently required. Recycling and seawater desalination are becoming a necessary part of the water infrastructure. The ANEMONE project has come up with a water recycling solution that gets around previous hurdles.
Food security is one of the grand challenges of our time, but many factors hinder meeting global targets set in the “Zero Hunger” UN Sustainable Development Goal. Two billion people are thought to be micronutrient deficient, yet in many poor countries, fish could provide a readily available and cheap source of micronutrients and protein. Prof. Christina Hicks is particularly interested in fish micronutrients and small-scale fisheries, a sector that holds potential for feeding people in coastal areas but is often forgotten in world strategies against malnutrition.
Stressed plants typically stop growing. With her ERC grant, Prof. Ana Caño-Delgado has developed and is applying an innovative approach to generate drought-resistant plants that continue growing. This could play an important role in ensuring food security when water is scarce.
EU-funded researchers are carrying out a comprehensive analysis of urban food-sharing schemes, examining how they embrace modern technologies like the internet and smart phones. The worldwide study could help people living in cities make more sustainable use of food resources.
Almost 842 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The world faces huge challenges if it is to achieve food security for a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050. With ERC help, Professor Malcolm Bennett of the UK’s University of Nottingham is trying to improve crop yields through better understanding of roots and the way they grow.