If we are to feed by 2050 a growing population that is increasingly adopting western style diets we will have to intensify food production - producing more but on the same amount or less of land and with the same amount or less of water. Moreover this has to be done in a sustainable manner, i.e. with much lower environmental impact and greater resilience. We can do this with ecological approaches, genetic approaches and socio-economic approaches. Each has its pros and cons.
Sir Gordon Conway is a Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London and Director of Agriculture for Impact, a grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on European support of agricultural development in Africa.
From 2005-2009 he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for International Development. Previously he was President of The Rockefeller Foundation and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex.
He was educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad) and California (Davis). His discipline is agricultural ecology. In the early 1960's, working in Sabah, North Borneo, he became one of the pioneers of sustainable agriculture.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2005. He was recently President of the Royal Geographical Society.
He has authored The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for all in the 21st century (Penguin and University Press, Cornell) and co-authored Science and Innovation for Development (UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS)). His most recent book One Billion Hungry: Can we Feed the World? was published in October 2012.