Key Speakers Speakers

Dr Riaz Bhunnoo

Director of Global Food Security Programme

Riaz provides strategic leadership to the Global Food Security (GFS) programme and drives forward cross-stakeholder, interdisciplinary activities in partnership with the UK public funders of food security research. He has worked at BBSRC (who formally lead the multi-partner programme) since 2005, and in that time has undertaken secondments to the RCUK Executive Directorate to work on cross-Council research coordination and policy, and the Gates Foundation to work on Grand Challenge Explorations. Riaz is a strong advocate of interdisciplinary working to tackle the biggest challenges facing society.

Jonathan Brooks

Head of Agri-Frood Trade and Markets Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Jonathan Brooks is Head of the Agri-Food Trade and Markets Division in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Trade and Agriculture Directorate, which produces the annual OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook and undertakes a range of analysis of food, agricultural and trade policies. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis.


Phil Hambling

Head of Food & Farming, National Farmers Union

Philip is Head of Food and Farming for the National Farmers Union, based in Stoneleigh.  He heads up the team of Chief Advisers responsible for supporting the work of each of the National Sector Boards, Animal Health and Welfare and the NFU Food Chain Unit. Philip joined the NFU in April 2017 from Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, where he was Own Brand Agriculture Manager. Previous roles include head of procurement and account management for a leading UK meat processor, after technical and agriculture manager for the British Meat Processors Association. Philip also undertook a number of policy lead roles at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs including market support measures, animal disease control and an regional operational role in the Government response to foot and mouth in 2001. Philip studied Zoology at Newcastle University, graduating in 1998. Philip is a keen scratch cook and amateur butcher, occasionally guilty of enjoying food a little too much.

Cathryn Higgs

Head of Food Policy, Co-op

Cathryn provides leadership on all areas of food policy and is responsible for making sure The Co-op takes action on the things that matter most to customers and members, as well as ensuring that ethics and sustainability are at the heart of decision making.

The team sets strategy and goals for food production standards and sourcing, human rights, environmental impacts and health and nutrition.  As well as providing advice and recommendations on government policy, scientific, legal and consumer affairs for teams within Food and across the Co-op family of businesses.

Cathryn joined the Co-op in 1997 and has held various policy, technical and legal roles in the business. Before joining the Co-op Cathryn worked as a microbiologist in the food and household sector. She is also a member of the Food Ethics Council and passionate about finding real, workable solutions to food systems challenges and championing a people centric approach to policy and decision making.