The leadership team includes the Principal Investigators, senior operations team and the lead for each of our core research areas. The group meets regularly and provides dynamic and strategic leadership for the programme, ensuring integration across activities and the pursuit of transformation.
Dr Rebecca Wells
Senior Lecturer in Food PolicyCity, University of London
Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer in Food Policy in the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London and the Programme Director for the Centre’s MSc in Food Policy. Her research focuses on the interactions between food policy and the media, and developing food policy for a healthier, more sustainable and equitable food system. She has a particular interest in the pedagogy of food systems and was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018. Rebecca’s current research projects reflect her research interests. She is a Co-I on the HEALTHEI (Health Economic Analysis incorporating effects on Labour outcomes, Households, Environment and Inequalities for food taxes) project, leading an analysis of media coverage of food taxes. She is a Co-I on the Transforming UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training.
A former BBC producer and food journalist, Rebecca joined the BBC in 1991 working on a variety of programmes including investigative and consumer output for BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4 and the World Service, before becoming a producer on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme in 1999. She produced dozens of documentaries for the Food Programme, on topics including food policy, food culture, food history, nutrition, environmental sustainability and food education.
Professor Bob Doherty
FixOurFood Academic DirectorUniversity of York
Bob is one of the Directors of FixOurFood, Professor of Marketing and N8 Chair in Agrifood at the University of York Management School. Since joining York in 2012 he has been Principal Investigator of ‘IKnowFood’ and more recently ‘FixOurFood’ from the Transforming Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund. From April 2019, Bob has been seconded as a policy fellow into the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on a new science research programme launched to inform DEFRA policy making:
Bob has also provided both oral and written evidence for a range of House of Commons select committees, House of Lords Food and Farming enquiries and for the National Food Strategy, where he has played the role of rapporteur at public dialogues. In addition, he holds a number of institution-wide research positions including the University of York lead for N8 AgriFood with the role as Director of the N8 Food Systems Policy Hub and research theme leader for sustainable food in the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI). Furthermore, he is a trustee of the Fairtrade Foundation. Bob specialises in research on hybrid organisations and the management aspects of fair trade organisations and social enterprises and has published in Nature, Journal of Business Ethics and the International Journal of Management Reviews. Prior to moving into academia Bob spent nearly five years as Head of Sales and Marketing at the Fairtrade social enterprise, Divine Chocolate Ltd.
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Professor Ioan Fazey
Director of Strategy for the Department of Environment and GeographyUniversity of York
Ioan is Professor of the Social Dimensions of Environment and Change and Director of Strategy for the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. His research focuses on how to steward transformations to regenerative futures and bring about the systemic kinds of changes needed to overcome 21st century challenges like climate change. This includes researching and asking deep questions about how our knowledge systems – universities, research institutes, and the way we go about learning in complex environments – need to transform to support wider societal transformations to sustainability. Ioan has over 70 research publications in knowledge, resilience, transformations and sustainability. He actively supports and facilitates a growing field of research, teaching and action associated with transformation, including being a founding member and steward of the SDG Transformation Forum, co-founder of the Transformations Conference Series and trustee of H3uni.org – the action oriented organisation promoting transformative thinking and building capacity for working within a rapidly changing world.
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Professor Katherine Denby
Professor of Sustainable Crop ProductionUniversity of York
Katherine is one of the Directors of FixOurFood and a member of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products in the Biology Department at the University of York. Her research focuses on plant disease resistance, novel bio-control strategies and crop improvement for disease resistance, yield and quality traits. Katherine’s work is focused on leafy vegetables, using large-scale data and new plant breeding techniques to meet the needs of UK and Global South agriculture and new production systems (e.g. vertical farming). She is an editor of The Plant Journal and the journal Plants, People, Planet, and an Executive Board member of the Global Plant Council.
From 2016-2021 Katherine was Academic Director of the N8 AgriFood Programme, a multidisciplinary programme across eight UK universities integrating research and providing evidence to inform policy and practice in sustainable food production, resilient food supply chains, and accessible healthy diets to tackle national and global food security challenges.
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Professor Lisa Collins
Professor of Animal ScienceUniversity of Leeds
Lisa is Head of the School of Biology, Professor of Animal Science, N8 Agrifood Chair in Agricultural Systems, Director of the National Pig Centre and Deputy Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on the development and application of smarter agricultural systems through multi-disciplinary approaches including technology development, systems modelling and data analytics. Amongst a broad portfolio of active research projects, Lisa is PI on PIGSustain, a £2.06m Global Food Security programme grant.
Lisa serves on national and international advisory, funding and academic society councils and strategy groups, including BBSRC, the Dog Advisory Council, ASAB council, and European Food Safety Authority groups. She is an experienced public communicator of science, regularly presenting invited public lectures including at the Royal Institution and in national theatres. Her work regularly features in national and international news media in all formats. In 2014, she received the British Science Association Charles Darwin Award for excellence in science communication, and in 2010, the UFAW Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year award. In 2020, she was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and is the British Science Association Section President for Agriculture and Food for 2021.
Email: L.Collins@leeds.ac.ukFind out more
Professor Maria Bryant
Professor in Public Health NutritionUniversity of York
Maria is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition based at the University of York and the Bradford Institute of Health Research. She is a nutritionist with over 20 years’ experience in the design and delivery of trials and related methodological research in the field of food, diet and obesity. Her methodological interests include development and evaluation of public health interventions, food systems, trials, cohorts, implementation evaluation, and applied health research. She is passionate about partnership working and is dedicated to ensuring meaningful engagement in all aspects of her work. In addition to being the strategic lead of a portfolio of research focused around public health nutrition within the Department of Health Sciences and the Hull York Medical School, Professor Bryant is the Director of Nutrition Research for Born in Bradford, theme lead for UKPRP ActEarly (Evaluation theme and Food and Healthy weight theme), sub-system lead for Early Years and Schools within UKRI FixOurFood, Academic Director of the BaBi network, the academic lead for Diet and Obesity evaluation for a Better Start Bradford, and the out-going Chair of the Board of Trustees for the UK Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO).
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Professor Sarah Bridle
Professor of Food, Climate and SocietyUniversity of York
Sarah is a transdisciplinary researcher driven by the need to tackle climate change, focusing on a quantitative approach to helping transform food systems to steward change to new kinds of futures.
Sarah’s current research focuses on synthesising, exploring and effectively communicating environmental and nutrition impacts of different dietary options, with the aim of driving changes in food production methods and portfolios to be healthy for people and planet.
Sarah currently leads the AFN Network+ . A network that brings together key research leaders and stakeholders, their organisations and networks. Their mission is to shape the next decade of research to support and drive the agrifood system’s progress towards net zero.
Sarah has unique expertise in managing large scale data, bringing a background including a degree in Natural Sciences, a PhD in astrophysics (University of Cambridge, 2000); and statistical cosmology research in France, Cambridge, London (Lecturer/Reader 2004-2012) and Manchester (Professor 2013-). Author of >100 refereed publications with >10,000 citations (h>50), Sarah has won prestigious awards including a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, the Royal Astronomical Society’s Fowler Award, and ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants.
Sarah founded the Take a Bite out of Climate Change project, including leading a stand at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2019.
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Dr Michelle Cain
Lecturer in Environmental AnalyticsUniversity of Cranfield
Michelle’s core expertise is in greenhouse gases, air pollution and climate science. Her current research focuses on the role of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide in limiting global warming, consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal. In particular, how to estimate the temperature outcomes from reducing methane emissions. Agricultural emissions are dominated by methane and nitrous oxide, both potent greenhouse gases. However methane’s lifetime in the atmosphere is around a decade, whereas nitrous oxide’s is over a century, and so methods of comparison must account for this to be accurate over all timescales.
Before joining Cranfield in 2020, Michelle was a senior researcher at the University of Oxford, where she developed the Oxford Martin Programme on Climate Pollutants, which aimed to make climate metrics used in climate policy more fit-for-purpose. She held two University of Oxford Knowledge Exchange Fellowships, on agricultural climate mitigation.
As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge (2009-2017), Michelle worked on modelling the sources of pollution measured by the Cranfield-based FAAM research aircraft. She took part in conducting large field campaigns to the Arctic to measure methane in the atmosphere, linking these measurements back to sources such as remote wetlands. Other field campaigns targeted UK air pollution, and fugitive methane from North Sea gas rigs.
Her PhD, from the University of Reading, combined airborne measurements with modelling of long range transport of pollutants in the atmosphere from North America to Europe, and also in the West African Monsoon.
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Dr Belinda Morris
Operations DirectorUniversity of York
Belinda is responsible for the operational oversight of FixOurFood. Her interests lie primarily in maths and science – she holds a PhD in surface and solid state chemistry (Manchester) and tutors maths and science to Key Stage 4. She built her experience in financial and project management whilst leading the Interpretation and Exhibition teams at the National Railway Museum. Prior to that she worked as a science communicator – designing and delivering community science events around the Yorkshire region.
Professor Steve Banwart
Director, Global Food and Environment InstituteUniversity of Leeds
Steve holds the University of Leeds Leadership Chair in Integrated Soil – Agriculture – Water research and is Director of the Global Food and Environment Institute. He champions integrating research on soil and water resources into the study of Earth’s Critical Zone, the surface layer of the planet from bedrock to atmospheric boundary layer that provides most life-sustaining resources. He obtained a BSc in Civil Engineering and a MSc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Natural Environmental Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Zurich. His core science is basic chemistry that is also applied to the study of soil systems and natural waters. His achievements include combining laboratory experimentation, theoretical mathematical modelling, and data from field studies in order to describe water flow and transport and mechanism of chemical transformations that quantify: (a) Soil functions that produce crops, store and filter infiltrating water, transform nutrients, store carbon from the atmosphere as organic matter, provide habitat and sustain biodiversity, (b) Weathering of rock and minerals to deliver solutes to drainage waters in catchments and river basins including the release of contamination from mining sites and (c) Role of the geological barrier to contain civilian high level nuclear waste within underground repositories constructed in bedrock Biogeochemistry and natural biodegradation of hydrocarbon pollution in soil and groundwater aquifers.
Email: S.A.Banwart@leeds.ac.ukFind out more
Programme ManagerUniversity of York
Sophie is a former secondary school Head of Science who made the transition to work in higher education following her relocation to York. Prior to working with FixOurFood, Sophie facilitated the operations of the Bioscience Technology Facility in York, and has a range of experience in events management, project development and future planning.