Project team

This project draws on a diverse team from disciplines including Geography, Social Sciences, Environmental Sustainability and Agricultural Innovation.

A trig point and view of the Peak District

Dr Ruth Little is the project leader and principal investigator (PI) of this project. She 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. 

Dr Judith Tsouvalis works as a Research Fellow on this project. She has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford. She lectured at the University of Oxford for three years before embarking on a full-time research career. Judith has worked on new participatory approaches (the RELU-funded Loweswater Care Project, where participation was modelled on Bruno Latour’s understanding of ‘new collectives’); science-publics-politics relations; plant biosecurity and ash dieback; precision farming; industrial forestry; and trees. She has a strong interest in theory and enjoys grappling with complex concepts and ideas, exploring what they enable us to achieve in practice or what they foreclose.

Professor Charlotte Burns is a co-investigator on this project. She is a faculty of Social Sciences Professorial Fellow with a background in politics and specific expertise on EU decision-making and environmental politics and policy. Since 2013 she has been working on the implications of EU membership or UK and EU environmental policy. Charlie has been a research leader for the UK in a Changing Europe programme focussing upon environmental policy. She is co-founder and co-chair of the Brexit and Environment Network, which brings together academics and stakeholders to deliver evidence and advice on environmental policy and politics in the UK.

Professor Sue Hartley is a co-investigator on this project. Sue is the University of Sheffield's Vice-President for Research and leads on the University’s research activity, including research excellence, the flagship institutes, Research Excellence Framework (REF) preparations, grant activity and impact. Sue works closely with Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Innovation. Before coming to Sheffield, Sue was Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, a pioneering interdisciplinary research partnership generating solutions to global environmental challenges, at the University of York. She was also the University of York's Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, driving a range of interdisciplinary research programmes with colleagues from multiple disciplines and external partners. Sue is a trustee of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a board member of Natural England, the UK government’s statutory adviser for the natural environment in England. Her research interests include understanding the interactions between organisms exploiting plants, how those interactions are mediated by plant defences, particularly silicon, and how a better understanding of those processes can improve both the sustainability of agriculture and agri-environmental policy.

Dr David Rose is a co-investigator on this project. He is Elizabeth Creak Associate Professor of Agricultural Innovation and Extension at the University of Reading. He was trained in Geography at the University of Cambridge. He has research expertise on the subjects of agricultural technology adoption, user-centred design, behaviour change, and knowledge exchange. His main area of focus now is on agri-tech futures using a responsible innovation lens to explore ethical considerations of new technology. PhD students working with David are exploring issues relating to technology and animal welfare, inclusion of stakeholders in technology visions, and methods of stakeholder inclusion in farmer groups. David has an interest in evidence-based policy-making, working with Parliament and Defra on recent projects. He regularly contributes to TV, radio, and print media on food, farming, and environmental policy issues.
Dr José Fajardo Escoffié is a Research Associate on this project. He gained a Social Anthropology Degree at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in México, before completing an MA in Visual Anthropology and a PhD in Social Anthropology with Visual Media, both at The University of Manchester. He has worked for charities and government agencies in Mexico as a social anthropologist and as a photographer in projects related with the conservation, perception, and restoration of nature under the logic of social participation. José is interested in fieldwork-based research that lies at the intersection of agriculture, food consumption, sustainable management of the environment, and visual representation.