The Rural Sociology Group has been granted the coordination of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network entitled ‘Urban, peri-urban and regional food dynamics: toward an integrated and territorial approach to food (PUREFOOD)’ funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework PEOPLE program. The PUREFOOD research and training programme aims to reduce the enormous knowledge and skills deficit that is negatively affecting the capacity to design and deliver appropriate political and developmental solutions in the crucial supra-disciplinary fields of food security, public food procurement, public health and sustainable urban and regional development. Hence, the objective of PUREFOOD is to train a pool of 12 early-stage researchers (ESRs) in the socio-economic and socio-spatial dynamics of the (peri-)urban and regional foodscape. The research and training program will therefore provide knowledge and innovation for the Commission’s aim to deal with economic, social and environmental policies in “mutually reinforcing ways” which reflects the core of the Lisbon and Gothenburg agenda’s call for integrated solutions towards economic prosperity, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. The PUREFOOD network is centred around food as an integrated and territorial mode of governance and studies the emergence of the (peri-)urban foodscape as an alternative (as opposed to a globalised) geography of food, including the ways in which, and the extent to which, sustainability aspects generally considered to be intrinsic to the alternative food geography are incorporated by the more conventional food companies.
The PUREFOOD Initial Training Network consists of 7 university partners who will each host one or more ESRs:
- Wageningen University – Rural Sociology Group (The Netherlands)
- Cardiff University – School of City and Regional Planning (United Kingdom)
- Pisa University – Department of Agronomy and Agro-ecosystem Management (Italy)
- Latvia University – Faculty of Social Sciences (Latvia)
- City University London – Centre for Food Policy (United Kingdom)
- Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – Postgraduate Program in Rural Development (Brazil)
- Makerere University School of Public Health – Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences (Uganda)
In addition to these universities as full consortium partners, the PUREFOOD network consists of 8 associated partners, a combination of private firms, public authorities and civil society organisations:
- Peri-Urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE)
- Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform
- Sodexo UK
- Slow Food Study Center
- Stroom Den Haag
- Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming
- Tukums municipality
The associated partners will contribute to the PUREFOOD training program by contributing to courses, participating in Communities of Practice and by hosting ESRs for a secondment. The active involvement of these associated partners is also of great importance for safeguarding the practical applicability of scientific research in the commercial, public as well as civic realm and for the dissemination of results.
The seven universities have opened (or soon will open) vacancies for 12 early-stage research positions. The launch of the vacancies has been announced on this weblog. As of now the PUREFOOD vacancy brochure with information about ESR projects, eligibility criteria, contact persons for additional information and addresses for submitting applications is available. For potential prospective ESRs an information pack has been compiled with information about the PUREFOOD research and training programme, the individual ESR projects, the timeline of the project and short descriptions of the full and associated consortium partners.