Food and Water Security and Sustainability


CommunicationTeam WorkProblem SolvingResearchICT SkillsPlanningInterpersonalLeadership Professionalism


The aim of this module is to introduce the students to multiple aspects of food and water security and sustainability. Throughout the module we explore and discuss the complexity and interconnectedness of water-energy-food systems.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate a knowledge of food and water security and sustainability at local and global scales.

2.  Have an understanding of natural resources systems, and the concept of WEF sustainability.

3.  Explain the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus paradigm.

4.  Appraise resilience and adaptation to global drivers through the application of nexus and sustainability approaches.

5.  Develop the ability to present rational scientific arguments underpinned by evidence.

Indicative Content

1 Definitions of security and sustainability

Definitions of sustainability and its three pillars (environmental, social and economic), and methods for sustainability assessment for sustainable development. Specific Food and water definitions: Security, in terms of access to sufficient and safe food and water. Sustainability in terms of production, supply, use, re-use and waste management.

2 Moving towards equality and resilience based on a systems

Moving away from traditional resource exploitation and social inequality to equality and resilience based on a systems approach – complex dynamics of coupled systems.

3 Characterising the WEF Nexus

Characterising the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus, defining interlinkages between water, energy and food, and governance challenges. Introduction of the Nexus approach.

4 Securing Food Production at local and global scales

Resilient food chains, limits, quality, changing consumer behaviours, organic versus intensive agriculture.

5 Contemporary issues in food and water security and sustainability

Debate contemporary issues on food and water security and sustainability.



Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students will be exposed to theoretical aspects and concepts related to a systems approach to the environment during lectures, and will acquire knowledge through self-study guided by tutorials and assessed via student-led discussions and a written report. Students are expected to fully engage with all group activities in this module. The feedback from these activities feed-forward into summative assessments on the module.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 26
Tutorial/Seminar 26
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 25
Independent 123

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.