Grand Challenges Cornwall: Food for thought (Penryn)

Students on our Penryn campus can take part in Grand Challenges in one of three ways! You can take Grand Challenges Penryn 'Food for Thought' (described below) as either an extracurricular activity or as a 15 credit module (sign up is now closed for the module). Or you are welcome to select one of the Streatham Challenges available to Penryn students - Global Security, Business of Brexit, Mental Health or Climate Change.

Grand Challenges Penryn - 12 - 16 June 2017

Planet Earth faces major environmental challenges in the 21st Century, as humans place strains on biodiversity, ecosystem services, food security, health, wealth and quality of life. Grand Challenges Cornwall is a 5-day-long field course in which you will work in interdisciplinary research groups, alongside our top academics, making contacts with external organisations, businesses and the local community to explore drivers of and solutions to these grand challenges.

Watch the video for more information on Grand Challenges Penryn 2017, and see the videos in the right hand margin for more information on what students do!

The overall theme for Grand Challenges 2017 is on “How can we eat and produce food in a healthy and sustainable manner?”. Within this you will learn about and explore in more detail a range of questions such as:

  • How can we feed our populations in a secure and sustainable manner?
  • Can we sustainably make use of marine resources?
  • What challenges face the people who produce our food?
  • How can we make use of wild foods?
  • Can we eat healthily in the modern world?
  • How can we reduce food waste?
  • Are GM crops the answer to our problems?

The solutions to these problems will not come from any single academic discipline and we need to take full advantage of the insights generated from a number of different disciplines. This is why the Grand Challenges field course is designed to be fully interdisciplinary and is open to students from across the University. Working with students and staff from a variety of disciplines will bring different perspectives, methods and ways of thinking. You do not need to have a detailed knowledge of these subjects beforehand and this is a great opportunity to pick a topic and take part in activities that are usually outside your area of study.

During the field course you will become investigative journalists, working as part of an interdisciplinary team of students to independently identify and research a particular topic, identifying the problems and proposing solutions. Your task will be to create a video around your chosen topic to communicate your findings and raise awareness of the issues. Throughout the week you will communicate your work through social media, and make links to the local and national media. There will be events inspired by the kind of academic research being performed at the University, and involving people from other organisations, businesses, and social enterprise schemes working at the forefront of these issues. These can include lectures and interactive debates (get the state-of-the-art knowledge, and learn about different perspectives on the issues and get the chance to quiz the key participants), fieldtrips (e.g. visit a lobster hatchery to see how an important marine population is being sustained), and practical sessions. Through your investigations you will get out into the community, meeting local people and other stakeholders who are directly affected by these issues.


There are two ways in which you can participate in this challenge:

All undergraduates: non-credited participation

Sign up opens in January 2017!!

2nd year 15 credit module LES2001

For further information about the module, assessment and teaching, please read the module description. Please be aware module sign up has already occurred for this module.

Don't forget to check out the Streatham Challenges if you're interested! If you choose 'Global security', 'Mental health', 'Business of Brexit' or 'Climate change' you will receive free transport and accommodation for the week.

Flickr gallery from Grand Challenges Penryn 2016