Dr Ruth Little

Department of Geography

Lecturer in Human Geography

Dr Ruth Little of the Geography Department
Dr Ruth Little of the Geography Department
+44 114 222 7983

Full contact details

Dr Ruth Little
Department of Geography
Room E15
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Ruth Little is a qualitative social scientist specialising in agricultural and food-related research.

Since 2012, Ruth has divided her time between the University of Sheffield and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), first working with the Animal and Plant Health Evidence and Analysis (APHEA) team and latterly with the Environmental Land Management team on the redesign of the post-Brexit agricultural payments system.

Her research has included a focus on animal and plant health management, policy evaluation and piloting innovative approaches to increase involvement of stakeholders and the wider public in decision-making on policies related to agriculture and the environment.

Ruth has recently been awarded an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant under the Governance After Brexit programme to analyse the future development of agri-environmental policies.

Ruth has over 15 years research experience conducting interdisciplinary agri-food projects funded by the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (RELU), the ESRC and Defra. Before this, Ruth completed her PhD in collaboration with the Soil Association on collective food purchasing groups and food co-ops.

Ruth is a Co-Investigator on the ESRC project Landscapes of Support: Farmer wellbeing and rural resilience through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


Journal articles



Research group

Research Associates

Ruth Little is currently supervising three PhD students funded by the Grantham Centre and other sources. Enquiries from prospective PhD students are always welcome.

Teaching activities

Ruth Little currently teaches on several undergraduate modules including:

  • GEO115 Introduction to Environmental Geographies
  • GEO248 Research Design for Geography and Environmental Science
Professional activities

Ruth Little is a member of the Joint Defra-Natural England Expert Panel on Social Science Evidence for Improving Environmental Land Management Outcomes and the Defra bTB biosecurity advisory group.

She is also on the technical advisory board for the TB Advisory Service.