25 January 2022

Dr Ruth Little named one of Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential Academics in Government

Dr Ruth Little, Lecturer in Human Geography and member of the Institute for Sustainable Food, has been listed in the ‘climate and sustainability’ category for her policy work on agriculture and the environment.

Dr Ruth Little of the Geography Department
Dr Ruth Little of the Geography Department

Apolitical is a global platform for government that helps public servants find the ideas, experts and partners they need to solve the hardest challenges facing our societies. Drawing on the nominations of public servants, the new list recognises academics whose research influences government policy.

Ruth Little is a qualitative social scientist specialising in agricultural and food-related research. She is a member of the Institute for Sustainable Food and Principal Investigator on the project Agri-Environmental Governance Post-Brexit, which works with farmers and government to develop a model for co-designing the new post-Brexit Environmental Land Management system.

Ruth was nominated for her extensive collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Her research has been cited in numerous Government publications, including The Environmental Audit Committee’s report on "Biodiversity in the UK" and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report on "Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition".

Dr Little said: “It is great to be recognised in this list. My research focuses on enhancing the role of people in the policy development process. From bovine TB to the development of the new post-Brexit Environmental Land Management scheme, it is important to recognise that people have a fundamental role to play in the success and failure of policies. The development of agri-environmental policy needs to be both socially and environmentally sustainable. My training as a geographer enables me to assess these policies based upon the implications for both livelihoods and landscapes."

Director of the Institute for Sustainable Food, Professor Peter Jackson, said: “I'm delighted that Ruth Little has been named as one of Apolitical's 100 most influential academics in Government.  Her work with Defra demonstrates the relevance of Geography to environmental policy and underlines the Institute's commitment to the development of a more sustainable agri-food system. Well done Ruth!”

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