Convergence research for innovative food systems solutions

Research often occurs in disciplinary silos, and at times is disconnected from context, other aspects of the industry to which it is connected, and even from the experiences, needs, and decision processes of stakeholders, like local communities on the ground. This siloed approach is not sufficient to tackle the vast and intersecting questions associated with how to make our food systems resilient to climate change.

The FACT Alliance strives to combat this with convergence research which meets complex problems with approaches that embody deep integration across disciplines. This kind of research calls for close association with the stakeholders who both make decisions and are directly affected by how our food systems work, be they farmers, extension services, policy makers, international aid organizations, or consumers. In this way, the FACT Alliance can work with stakeholders to find innovative solutions to mitigate the climate impacts of food systems and significantly improve their resilience.

Examples of research from the FACT Alliance are below. 

“MIT has a proven track record of bringing interdisciplinary expertise to bear on big global challenges. How to feed a growing population in the face of the climate crisis is a particularly complex challenge: Food systems are a key driver of climate change and, at the same time, they are dangerously vulnerable to climate impacts. We simply can’t solve climate change without addressing the role of food systems. As the central convener of MIT research on food systems, J-WAFS catalyzes collaboration across disciplines. Now, by bringing together a world-class group of research institutions and stakeholders from key sectors, the FACT Alliance aims to advance research that will help alleviate climate impacts on food systems and mitigate food system impacts on climate.”

—Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT's Vice president of research, Maria Zuber, standing with arms folded smiling