The GVC Research Cluster is part of the winning EPSRC bid on “Building sustainable local nexuses of food, energy and water: from smart engineering to shared prosperity (The Local Nexus Network)” led by the University of Oxford. 

This EPSRC funded network project will look at local nexuses, involving localised food manufacturing and decentralised energy and water supply that interact with the food system, are a special chapter of re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) with a focus on the sustainable local alignment of resources, production and consumption. By collaboration between engineering and social sciences, the Local Nexus Network will carry out feasibility projects and events to (i) establish the technical and socio-economic state-of-the-art of local productions of food, energy and water, (ii) generate initial insights for guiding researchers, businesses, policy makers and communities who are enthusiastic about exploring the potential of local nexuses, (iii) develop an evidence-based research agenda, (iv) form an inclusive research and stakeholder community, and (v) inform other related research on RDM.

Dr Lisa De Propris, Director of the GVC Cluster at BBS, and Dr Pamela Robinson will contribute to the project by investigating the business opportunities and challenges of localised food production and energy and water supply. Our research will:

  • Examine the opportunities and implications of the growing demand for re-localising food processing (e.g. concerns on food security associated with long supply chain, emerging expansion of greengrocers and farmer’s markets) and those of localised energy supply for small businesses including community-based initiatives, local operations of large companies and clusters of small firms.
  • Identify new/alternative business models required to reconcile various environmental, social and economic objectives within a localised value chain, including service-oriented approaches.
  • Explore potential strategies and important trade-off “sensitivities” with respect to resilience, efficiency, and sustainability to be faced by the value chain players.
  • Develop an understanding of the interactions between different local value chains and those between local and more centralised business activities. 
  • Learn more by visiting the EPSRC grants web page.