Professor Rosaleen Duffy

Department of Politics and International Relations

BIOSEC project lead

Profile image for academic staff member Rosaleen Duffy
+44 114 222 1694

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Professor Rosaleen Duffy
Department of Politics and International Relations
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Rosaleen Duffy joined the department in September 2016, having previously held posts at SOAS University of London, University of Manchester and University of Lancaster.

Rosaleen uses a political ecology lens in order to understand global environmental change. She is particularly interested in the global politics of biodiversity conservation, and focuses on global environmental governance, wildlife trafficking, poaching, transfrontier conservation and tourism. Recently, her work has sought to understand the growing links between global security and biodiversity conservation. In 2016 she was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant of EUR 1.8 million for BIOSEC - Biodiversity and Security: Understanding environmental crime, illegal wildlife trade and threat finance.

The project runs from 2016 to 2020. In theoretical terms, the project addresses the meanings of ecocide, ideas of environmental crime, as well as debates on environmental security and on political ecologies of conflict. In order to address these theoretical questions, the BIOSEC research team examine the drivers of illegal wildlife hunting, the dynamics of end-user markets, the social and political dimensions of the use of surveillance technologies for wildlife protection and the EU responses to wildlife trafficking.

Rosaleen has undertaken fieldwork in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar, Belize, Ethiopia and Thailand.

She is a fellow of the inter-disciplinary Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) and a member of the Sheffield Animals Research Colloquium (ShARC) and the international Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).

Research interests

My main research interests are political ecology, global environmental governance, biodiversity conservation, transfrontier conservation, tourism/ecotourism, wildlife trafficking, poaching and security.

The BIOSEC project, led by Professor Rosaleen Duffy in the Department of Politics, will examine claims by national governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that wildlife poaching and trafficking are increasingly being used to fund organised crime and terrorist groups.

I am also an Advisory Board member (2014-2017) ESRC Nexus Network on food, energy, water and the environment


  • 2018 Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award, President’s Medal for Researcher of the Year, University of Manchester
  • 2011 Elected Fellow of the Society of Biology, in recognition of research excellence and outstanding contribution to public understanding of science

Journal articles

Research group

I currently supervise 5 PhD students:

  • Hannah Dickinson, the caviar trade in the EU
  • Laure Joanny, surveillance and monitoring technologies in conservation
  • Teresa Lappe-Osthege, environmental peacebuilding and the Balkans
  • Kaisa Pietila, implementation and the Convention on Biodiversity in the South Pacific
  • I also act as external supervisor to Tom Fry (UCL), rewilding in Scotland

I welcome PhD proposals on topics linked to biodiversity conservation, global environmental change and political ecology.

  • Co-Investigator, TS2 NORFACE - Belmont Forum grant of EUR 1.2 million for CON-VIVA: Towards Convivial Conservation: Governing Human-Wildlife Interactions in the Anthropocene (2018-2021) led by Prof Bram Büscher and Dr Rob Fletcher (University of Wageningen).
  • Principal Investigator, European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant of EUR 1.8 million for BIOSEC -Biodiversity and Security: Understanding environmental crime, illegal wildlife trade and threat finance (2016-2020)
  • Principal Investigator, Leverhulme Visiting Professorship with Professor Giorgos Kallis ICREA Research Professor, ICTA-UAB, 2015-2016 value £84,036
  • Principal Investigator, ESRC grant of £94,000 (ESRC reference RES-000-22-2599) Neoliberalising Nature? A Comparative Analysis of Asian and African Elephant Based Ecotourism (Dec 2007-October 2008).
  • Principal Investigator, ESRC grant of £42,000 (ESRC reference RES-000-22-0342) Global Environmental Governance and Local Resistances. Oct. 2003-July 2004.
  • Principal Investigator, ESRC grant of £39,919 (ESRC reference R000223013) ‘The Geopolitics of Bioregions: Conservation and Erosion of National Boundaries’. (Oct. 1999 to Oct. 2000)
Teaching activities

My teaching practice is very interactive - classes are built around a range of different activities which include group tasks, practical exercises, close reading/critiques of key writings, as well as mini-lectures. The aim is to develop opportunities for thorough reflection on the ways we understand and approach global environmental change - this means we critically analyse commonly accepted terms and practices such as Anthropocene, carbon trading, payments for ecosystem services, resource conflicts, population growth and natural capital; using a political ecology lens, we try to uncover the uneven distribution of the negative consequences of global environmental change.


POLI6602 The Political Economy of Global Environmental Change