(Above) Among the participating universities outside Brazil are the University of Saint Joseph (Macao), the University of Toronto (Canada), the University of Newcastle (England), and the Universities of Lisbon and Porto (Portugal).
The University of Saint Joseph joined forces with the University of São Paulo and a dozen other higher education institutions in Brazil, Portugal, Canada and England, in a pioneering project whose aim is to fight against global hunger and food insecurity. With a duration of three years, the initiative – a multidisciplinary project with a broad, international approach – brings together researchers and experts in areas such as agriculture, economics, communication, engineering or public policies around the common goal of defining effective strategies to end hunger, project researcher Adérito Fernandes Marcos told O Clarim.
“The project was devised based on the assertion that multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary efforts should be combined. Experts in agriculture, environment, urbanization, economics, engineering, food behaviour, communication and public policies – and others that can be added – will band together to instantiate effective actions against hunger, be it in Brazil or in other parts of the globe,” the researcher, who coordinates the participation of the University of Saint Joseph in the program, explains.
Hunger and food insecurity are the most flagrant aspects of a problem that has become more blatant and is no longer afflicting only the poorest countries and societies. Coordinated by Dirce Maria Lobo Marchioni, one of Brazil’s most renowned scientists, the project aims to tackle other variations of the original problem, such as access to essential nutrients or food waste.
“Today, this issue is not limited to hunger. The lack of access to nutritious food is a glaring problem in the world’s poorest countries and territories, but there’s also the issues of health and nutrition, food insecurity or food waste, which became pressing issues in more developed societies,” Fernandes Marcos argues.
With a global scope, the project entails the process of gathering and analysing a large volume of data from various sources. The academic consortium is expected to make use of artificial intelligence systems to outline sustainable models of production and consumption that can allow for the eradication of hunger: “Artificial Intelligence will assume a crucial role in this project, due to its potential for integrated and systematized processing of the large volume of data that is currently generated throughout the value chain, from production to consumption of food, without forgetting the different ways agri-food systems operate, waste management, food waste and pollution control, among others,” Fernandes Marcos says.
“Artificial Intelligence will allow knowledge to be extracted, as well as basic machine learning for effective decision support in solving real problems in the supply of basic fare, waste management, food safety promotion and nutrition, in all its dimensions,” the researcher adds.
- The University of Saint Joseph is collaborating with other universities to fight global hunger and food insecurity through a multidisciplinary project that will span over three years.
- The project involves experts in areas such as agriculture, economics, communication, engineering, and public policies working together to define effective strategies to end hunger.
- Using artificial intelligence systems to outline sustainable models of production and consumption that can allow for the eradication of hunger, the project aims to tackle various aspects of the original problem – such as access to essential nutrients or food waste – by gathering and analyzing a large volume of data from various sources.
Amplifying Voices for Food Security: USJ to initiate digital radio network with Portuguese-speaking world
- USJ’s contribution is mainly focused on media communication, including the creation of a new digital radio station in Macau and the production of news content aimed at Portuguese-speaking countries.
- The digital radio will initially have two bases – Macau and São Paulo, Brazil.
- The project also includes the creation of a virtual museum in Macau that explores cultural and gastronomic diversity through a range of audiovisual materials.
- The collaboration involves several other universities, including the University of São Paulo, the University of Toronto, the University of Newcastle, and Portuguese universities of Lisbon and Oporto.
The project presumes interventions in five major thematic axes: Health and Nutrition, Public Policies, Value Chains, Artificial Intelligence and Communication. The participation of the University of Saint Joseph, through the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, will focus mainly on the potential and praxis of media communication.
USJ’s contribution foresees the creation, in Macau, of one of the initial poles of a new digital radio, as well as the production of news content aimed at the Portuguese-speaking countries: “With regard to Macau, what we propose to do is verify, probe, study and apply different media resources to tackle the issue of food safety. We will try to understand which way we can expand knowledge and how we can make it reach the general population, with a special focus on Macau’s population,” Fernandes Marcos explains.
“With regard to the webradio, this is a project that is carried out by students and teachers and will focus on scientific and cultural dissemination in general, with a particular focus on the issues of nutrition and the fight against hunger. The contents will focus primarily on the knowledge generated in the universities and partner entities, so it can, later, be extended, to other entities. The broadcasts – which will also cover the local cultural dimension of the involved countries – will be produced in Portuguese,” the general coordinator of the doctoral program at the University of Saint Joseph told O Clarim.
Coordinated by José Manuel Simões, a former journalist who heads the department of communication and media at the University of Saint Joseph, the new digital radio will have, for now, a base in Macau and a second one in São Paulo, Brazil, but the aim of the international consortium is to allow for content to be produced in each and every Portuguese-speaking country and territory. “The academic web radio for scientific dissemination will be constituted as a network and it will bring together poles in different Portuguese-speaking countries and territories: the five in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe), two in Asia (East Timor and Macau), as well as Brazil and Portugal. The project starts with two poles, one located at the University of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil, and the other at the University of Saint Joseph in Macau,” Fernandes Marcos points out.
The participation of the Macao Special Administrative Region in the project may, however, go in a different direction. Under way is the eventual creation of a virtual museum that will explore the cultural and gastronomic diversity of Macau, through a diversified range of audio visual-materials.
“With the eventual entanglement in this project, we hope to establish a new multi-and-transdisciplinary line of research in the area of biographical narrative. We see Macau as a multicultural epistemological reference, a living laboratory of cultural diversity for sustainable development, where personal digital narratives may constitute important tools, in terms of the cultural affirmation of different gastronomic traditions and eating habits. We foresee, with this purpose in mind, the creation of a virtual museological space for the narration of life stories,” the researcher adds.
In addition to the University of São Paulo, the University of Saint Joseph and several other higher education institutions in Brazil, the project also counts the collaboration of the University of Toronto, the University of Newcastle and the Portuguese universities of Lisbon and Oporto.