Contact Dr Sofia Kourmpetli

Areas of expertise

  • Food Quality
  • Food waste
  • Plants and microbes


I am a Lecturer in Plant Sciences at the School of Water, Energy and Environment and the Director of the Future Food Sustainability MSc course. 
I hold a BSc(Hons) in Agriculture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and have worked as an agronomist in the private and public sector before pursuing a career in research and education. During my PhD at the University of Nottingham and Rothamsted Research I got extensive experience on the development of tissue culture and plant genetic manipulation techniques, while as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester I developed a wide a range of molecular biology and bioinformatics skills working on fruit and grain development and evolution. 
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), 2018
  • PhD in Plant Sciences (2009), University of Nottingham and Rothamsted Research, UK
  • MSc in Plant Genetic Manipulation (2004), University of Nottingham, UK
  • BSc in Agriculture, with Specialisation in Horticulture and Viticulture (2001), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Research opportunity

PhD projects are available in a broad range of plant science-related subjects for motivated externally-funded or self-funded individuals. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact me to discuss research objectives and areas of interest. 

Current activities

  • My current research covers a wide range of subjects, with a particular focus on the  reduction of food losses and waste, seed technology and food sustainability.
  • Active research projects include:
  •  1. Rurban Revolution: Can ruralising urban areas through greening and growing create a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system? (2019-2021)(Co-I).
  • Funded by the Global Food Security Programme, BBSRC, ESRC, NERC and the Scottish Government.
  • This project is led by Lancaster University and in collaboration with the University of Liverpool. 
  • We aim to build an interdisciplinary evidence base on how urban green spaces and growing potentially influence: a) healthy and sustainable diets by improving availability, access and consumption of fruit and vegetables, b) food production in terms of quantity, quality and safety and the resilience of the UK food system, and c) ecosystem service delivery, both inside and outside cities.
  • For more info:
  • 2. Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Elsoms Seeds Ltd., aiming to develop more efficient bulk seed storage processes and seed 'health' monitoring capabilities by fully understanding what influences the quality, germination and vigour of seeds (2018-2021).
  • 3. Real-time interactive storage quality control in fresh agro products (QCAP) (2016-2019)(Co-I).
  • This is an INTERREG NWE funded project, led by Radboud University, with a number of academic and industrial partners from The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. 
  • The aim of the project is to develop a low-cost, multi-species trace gas sensor that can monitor in real-time emitted gasses from fresh agricultural products under commercial storage conditions. The sensor would be able to give an early warning to growers and retailers, thereby avoiding undesirable quality loss/downgrading of stored produce. Cranfield's contribution is focused on the identification of volatile organic compounds produced by potato tubers that could be used as biomarkers for the onset of microbial spoilage or physiological disorders. 
  • For more info:


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