Dr Alex Burgess

Leverhulme Research Fellow, University of Nottingham

How do we feed our astronauts on space missions?

As part of a new project, we will be looking at ways in which we can feed our astronauts on long-term space missions. A mission to Mars is expected to take 3 years, with 1-tonne of food required per year, per astronaut! With an 8 month trip required to send further provisions, space missions of the future will need to be self-sufficient. With many of the constraints of Earth-bound agricultural systems lacking is this our chance to rethink how we can grow our plants?

Joint with researchers including Professor Volker Hessel and Dr Matthew Knowling at the University of Adelaide and Professor Dov Stekel at the University of Nottingham we will be supervising a new PhD student starting in July 2021 to model closed-loop agricultural systems to simulate potential growing conditions in space.

Publish your work on sustainable production of crops in this special issue!

With an expanding population and unknown consequence of climate change, improving the sustainability of our cropping systems is integral to optimising yields and limiting any further negative impacts of agriculture on the environment.

This special issue in the journal Sustainability, deadline November 1st 2021, aims to publish high-quality research papers on methods to increase the sustainability of our agricultural systems, whether by alternative cropping practices (i.e. intercropping, agroforestry, vertical farming), urban systems, new improved crop varieties, innovative technologies to reduce inputs or through the development of new methods to assess the productivity and sustainability of our cropping systems. As a large proportion of the population are in developing countries with differing constraints to agricultural production (i.e. poor quality soils, low input agriculture, subsidence farming) papers are desired that cover a wide range of different environments and locations with differing amounts of resources or technology required.

For more information click here.

The first UKRI ECR Forum

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is calling on postdoctoral researchers, research associates and other early career researchers to join its new Early Career Researcher Forum.


Following the recent call for ECRs to join their new pilot forum, last week saw the first Induction week; a week long schedule of talks, networking and Q&A sessions aimed specifically at ECRs. Problems with the virtual conference platform, Whova, put a bit of a downer on the week but the ability to meet, network and exchange ideas with ECRs from a wide range of institutions more than made up for it. Finally a place for the voice of ECRs to be heard- more of this please!

To find out more and apply to the forum click here.

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