Professor Mike Goodman publishes two new books on food networks & transgressions

Professor Mike Goodman has had two new books published on alternative food networks and food transgressions – click the links to read more.

“Farmers’ markets, veggie boxes, local foods, organic products and Fair Trade goods – how have these once novel, “alternative” foods, and the people and networks supporting them, become increasingly familiar features of everyday consumption? Are the visions of “alternative worlds” built on ethics of sustainability, social justice, animal welfare and the aesthetic values of local food cultures and traditional crafts still credible now that these foods crowd supermarket shelves and other “mainstream” shopping outlets?”

Mike’s work examines questions such as:

“What constitutes ‘alternative’ food politics specifically and food politics more generally when organic and other ‘quality’ foods have become mainstreamed?

What has been the contribution so far of an ‘alternative food movement’ and its potential to leverage further progressive change and/or make further inroads into conventional systems?

What are the empirical and theoretical bases for understanding the established and growing ‘transgressions’ between conventional and alternative food networks?”

New PhD Studentship in Land Surface Hydrology

A four year award studentship is available at the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. The title of the project is “Representing Uncertainty in Land Surface Hydrology for Seasonal Forecasting“.This PhD is part of a wider research project led by the University of Reading and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC):  IMPETUS: Improving Predictions of Drought for User Decision-Making. The application deadline is 15th May 2014. For more information about the studentship, please follow this link.



Global Floods Working group

Dr Liz Stephens and Dr Hannah Cloke were invited to attend a workshop 4-5 March. Liz presented her work on GloFAS and Hannah presented her Flooding From Intense Rainfall SINATRA project (). 

The 4th workshop of the Global Flood Working Group, hosted at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in the UK,  gathered around 90 scientists, practitioners and users to kick off the Global Flood Partnership (GFP). GFP is a unique international forum aimed at developing global flood observational and modelling infrastructure, leveraging on existing initiatives, for better predicting and managing flood disaster impacts and flood risk.

It has wide buy-in from international organisations, including the European Commission, World Meteorological Organisation, UNISDR, World Bank, World Food Program, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, as it is complementary with existing efforts and has the  specific goal of bridging the gap between science and operational/policy needs. In fact, within the coming months the GFP will be delivering daily information on upcoming and ongoing floods to a wide range of different end users including the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre, the World Food Program, national services and private industry. From the scientific point of view, it is the only forum where the meteorological, hydrological, remote sensing and disaster management communities meet to discuss floods at global level, and is attended by top scientists from Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

New PhD Opportunity

University of Reading Co-Funded PhD available

Supervised by Dr Joanna Clark, Dr Liz Shaw, Prof Chris Evans (CEH), Dr Rob Griffiths (CEH).

Project based at CEH Bangor for Year 1 and 2, working on an established field experiment, and University of Reading for Year 3 for controlled laboratory experiments.

Closing date for applications: 14th March 2014

Open to EU applicants.

Launch of the CPCC at the Royal Geographical Society on 9th January 2014

The CPCC was officially launched by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and External Engagement), Professor Steven Mithen, on the final evening of the Quaternary Research Association’s 50th Anniversary Meeting “Revolutions at 50” at the Royal Geographical Society. More than 70 people from academia, government agencies, the press, and the public joined us for the launch. Professor Dominik Fleitmann’s inaugural lecture “Learning from the Past to Understand the Future” demonstrated the breadth of work already being undertaken by members of the CPCC, as well as the important lessons about climate-environment-human interactions that can be learnt from the study of speleothems. Thanks to all who made this launch such a splendid event.

Dominik FleitmannProfessor Dominik Fleitmann conducting his research on speleothems

Flood Risk remains as rain eases

With ~200mm of rainfall in just over 3 weeks, the Thames Valley along with many other parts of the country are again under water. This morning flood levels in many areas are still rising and many Environment Agency flood warnings remain in place. With very saturated ground, recent rainfall has led to a combination of river flooding and also the water table rising above the ground to flood roads and properties. Dr Hannah Cloke, a flood hydrologist from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science has been observing the flooding on the River Thames and talking to Thames Valley Residents. The current flood levels are in some areas similar to the floods of January 2003.


Dr Hannah Cloke surveys the flooding from the river Thames at Pangbourne on Thursday 

Dr Emily Boyd’s Project to help African cities adapt to climate change wins UN prize!


A University of Reading-led project to help people in Mozambique ‘green’ their urban neighbourhood and make it more resilient to climate change has won a United Nations award!

The project in Maputo, Mozambique, co-led by Dr Emily Boyd, from our Geography Department, has been announced (6 November 2013) among 17 inspiring projects as 2013 Lighthouse Activities under the Momentum for Change initiative of the United Nations.

Climate change is increasingly having an effect on communities across the globe, but its effects in poor urban areas in Africa are often particularly extreme. Increasing risk of coastal flooding, heat waves and extreme rainfall could put the safety and livelihood of millions of people at risk.

The project’s aim was to help the community have more of a say in government and business plans for urban development. Since being implemented, local people have started a new community recycling centre, cutting down on litter, helped clean and maintain drainage channels to prevent potential flooding problems, and now have a stronger voice in urban planning and development decisions.

Dr Boyd said: “An exciting finding from this work is the evidence that local residents, including relatively uneducated citizens, both want and are capable of handling information about the climate, when it relates to their own experiences of problems such as flooding.

“By getting active involvement of people, literally at street level, we have shown the importance of helping people to speak up about the problems they are facing from a changing climate. This helps to compel government institutions and businesses to take action. By empowering individuals and showing them the important role they play, we have seen an effective way to motivate people to help change their communities for the better.”

The project was jointly undertaken between academics from British and Finnish  institutions, with involvement from the University of Reading, University College London, University of York, FUNAB and Aalto University.

Lighthouse Activities and the Momentum for Change initiative are spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat, to shine a light on the groundswell of activities underway across the globe towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient world.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said: “The 2013 Lighthouse Activities are true beacons of hope, demonstrating what happens when innovation and passion come together to address the biggest challenge of our time.

“There are thousands of examples of people taking action to address climate change all over the world. The Lighthouse Activities highlight some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change, which I hope will inspire others to do the same.”

For more information, please contact Sarah Marchildon, Communications Officer, United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, at or +49 228 815 1065.

For media information from the University of Reading, please contact Pete Castle, University of Reading press office, at or +44 (0)118 378 7391.

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Momentum for Change on Facebook

Momentum for Change on Twitter

 The 2013 Lighthouse Activities were selected by a 16-member, international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

The 17 activities will be showcased at special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland (11-22 November).

Interested stakeholders can interact with the activity representatives during two social media discussions ahead of the climate conference. A Twitter chat took place on 6 November from 16:00 to 16:30 (CET).
Participants can comment using the hashtag #m4c. A Google Hangout will take place on 13 November.