University of Hertfordshire

Professor David Barling



Research interests

My research interests are broadly in the areas of: food policy, governance of food systems, security of the food supply, and the political economy of food and agriculture.

Current Research Projects

Valumics: Understanding Food Value Chain Dynamics and Networks [June 2017- May 2021] is an EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Action under the Sustainable Food Security theme, with 21 partners with a total grant of €6m from which UH’s grant is €467,590. Grant agreement no: 727243. Work Package co-ordinator & Principal Investigator University of Hertfordshire.

Delivering a healthy and sustainable food economy in the Letchworth Garden City. Co-investigator. October 2017-September 2021. Cofunded Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and Hertfordshire Local Economic Partnership. Grants awarded £105,858.

Achieving sustainable UK beef and sheep production and marketing systems in a changing environment. November 2018-October 2022Joint project with Royal Veterinary College. UH grant share £200,000. UH Principal Investigator

Selected Research Grants (completed)

GLAMUR: Global and Local food chain Assessment: a MUltidimensional peRformance-based approach (Feb 2013- Jan 2016) EU 7th Research Framework collaborative research project under the KBBE theme, with 15 academic partners & total grant of €2.93m. Grant agreement no: 311778. Work Package co-ordinator & Principal Investigator City University London.

SENSE: HarmoniSed ENvironmental Sustainability in the European food & drink chain (Feb 2012- Jan 2015) EU 7th Research Framework collaborative research project under the KBBE theme, with 23 partners including universities, research institutes & SMEs with a total grant of €2.89m. Grant agreement no: 288974. Work Package co-ordinator & Principal Investigator City University.

Purefood: Urban, peri-urban and regional food dynamics: toward an integrated and territorial approach to food (Dec 2010 - Nov 2014) EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network under the People work programme with a total grant of €2.8 m. Grant Agreement No: 264719. Principal Investigator City University.

Constructing a National Food Policy: policy integration and co-ordination pathways and challenges in Australia and the United Kingdom (Oct. 2012 - Sept 2016). PhD studentship: Co-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Animal, Food and Health Sciences - Australia & City University Studentship. Lead supervisor.

Foodlinks: Knowledge Brokerage to promote sustainable food consumption and production: linking scientists, policymakers and civil society organizations (Jan 2011- Dec 2013) EU 7th Research Framework collaborative research project under the environment theme with 10 partners with a total grant of  €1.5m. Grant Agreement No: 265287. Work Package co-ordinator & Principal Investigator City University.

Transparent_ Food:  Quality and Integrity in food –a challenge for chain communication and transparency research (Dec. 2009- Nov. 2011). EU 7th Framework Research Framework Co-operation and Support Action, with 10 partners for a total grant of  €995,094. Grant Agreement No: 245003. Work Package co-ordinator & Principal Investigator City University.

Food security and UK policy (2008): Report to the Soil Association UK 2008.  Principal Investigator, City University.

National sustainable food security in the UK (2006-8) funded by the Esmee Fairburn Foundation Environment Programme. Co-investigator City University. 

European Food Systems in a changing world – Scientific Forward Look: European Science Foundation/COST. (2006-7) ESF/COST European Commission funded. Retail and consumption section: Principal investigator City University.

Ethical Traceability and informed food choice (2004-7) EU 6th framework collaborative research project under Science and Society 4: Deepening the Understanding of Ethical Issues theme, with 7 partner institutions. Grant Contract no. SAS6-CT-2003-510235. Co-investigator City University.

Food safety norms, public health and consumers: international governance challenges(2008) report for the Steering Committee for Technology Assessment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality for the Netherlands: 2008, Principal investigator City University.

Codex, the EU and Developing Countries: an analysis of developments in international food standards setting (2003) report for the Rural Livelihoods Department of the UK Department for International Development (DfID). Co-investigator City University.

Commercial and public engagement

Governmental bodies

Non Governmental Bodies

  • British Standards Institute committee AW/90 Quality Systems for the Food Industry 2005-13.
  • Council member of Sustain (UK food and farming alliance of @ 100 NGOs) since 2005.
  • Chair of working party for Sustain’s Good Food on a Public Plate Project (public procurement of sustainable local food) 2005 - 2012. Chair of Good Food for Our Money Campaign 2009 - 2012.
  • Project Steering Board for the Sustainable Food Cities Programme 2013-2016 (Esmee Fairbairn Foundation funded c. £1m)
  • Associate member of the UK Health Forum.
  • Joint co-ordinator of the UK Agri-food Network a joint NGO-academic seminar series funded by the Network Foundation 2003-5
  • Member of Sustainable Food Supply Chain Commission: Industry and Parliament trust, Food Ethics Council & Warwick University 2013- 2014.


  • Member of Core Group of UK Research Councils’ (RCUK) Global Food Security Project: Priority questions for the UK Food System 2013.
  • Editorial board of the international journal Agriculture and Human Values
  • Editorial board of the international journal Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food.
  • External advisor to Oxford University interdisciplinary research project Emerging Forms Of Food Consumer Behaviour and Food Governance 2013 -2014 (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity & the Said Business School).
  • Advisory Board Food Research Collaboration (Esmee Fairburn Foundation funded project): 2014-17
  • Political Studies Association of the UK. PSA UK specialist groups 1. Public Policy and Administration 2. Environmental Politics
  • International Academic Advisory Committee for the Masters in Food Systems, Culture and Society, from the Open University of Catalonia (UNESCO Centre for e learning).
  • Food and Climate Research Network


Various including: BBC TV news; BBC 24 Hour news; BBC Radio 4 AM, PM, Farming Today and Moral Maze programmes; Radio 5 News; BBC World Service.