A University of Birmingham academic is one of only 30 exceptional academics nationally to receive the Philip Leverhulme prize and a share of £3 million to advance research into the growth and corporatisation of charitable food in the UK.

Recipient of the award, Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite from the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, will be working with colleagues in the US, Canada and beyond to analyse the current charitable food crisis and provide a much-needed appraisal of the notion of ‘emergency’ food provision. This new project, which will take place over 3 years, will help to address the significant gap in research of the causes and nature of the UK’s movement towards the permanence of food banking.

Dr Kayleigh Garhtwaite commented, “For the past decade in the UK, emergency food provision has grown, and is becoming an ever more normalised ‘response’ to poverty and insecurity, as we’ve seen in a North American context over a longer time period. While analyses of UK food banking have drawn on North American literature, less attention has been paid to the potential for allied critiques and movements. The idea of charitable food as an ‘emergency’ response must therefore be re-framed; this is especially important in a (post) COVID-19 context, where the entrenchment and corporatisation of food aid are becoming ever more critical and prominent.”

The Philip Leverhulme Prizes have been awarded annually since 2001 in commemoration of the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme. The prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. 

Each of the 30 Prize Winners receives £100,000, which can be used over two or three years to advance their research.

Find out more about the 2020 Philip Leverhulme Prize Winners