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Our team Research Team

Image of some of the FixOurFood team on a farm visit

We have a dynamic team of researchers, this group are essential to the progress of our activities, helping to drive and coordinate our portfolio.

  • Dr Annie Connolly

    Research Engagement Manager

    The Food Foundation

    Annie is Research Engagement Manager at the Food Foundation, in the Children’s Right 2 Food team. She works on the school food element of FixOurFood, focussing on policy and stakeholder engagement.

    Annie has been involved in advocating for change in our food system on different scales for many years, from growing vegetables with primary school children and volunteering in food banks to campaigning for national policy change with End Hunger UK.

    She did an MSc in Food Policy and has recently passed her PhD at the University of Leeds on primary school children’s lived experiences of food insecurity.

    Email: Annie.Connolly@foodfoundation.org.uk

  • Dr Juan Pablo Cordero

    Research Associate

    University of York

    Juan Pablo is based in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, and is interested in the development of scientific software, big data research, visual representation of data, predictive numerical models and the effect of measurement uncertainty on model parameter estimation.

    His role in FixOurFood is to develop numerical models of the Yorkshire food system which can help predict the effect of systemic transformations of food production, storage, processing and consumption on measurable indicators with an emphasis on the effects on business models, dietary
    choices and environmental impact.

    Juan Pablo is a data scientist with a PhD in Astrophysics from The University of Manchester, and has previously worked in large international scientific collaborations such as the Dark Energy Survey and the SkyPy collaboration.

    Email: juanpablo.cordero@york.ac.uk

  • Image of Alana Kluczkovski

    Dr Alana Kluczkovski

    Research Fellow

    University of York

    Alana is based in the Department of Biology at the University of York. Her research focus is food production and its impact on human and planetary health. She works with the Hybrid Economies team running the innovative cutting edge technology urban indoor vertical farm, Grow It York, in the centre of York – located at the heart of the vibrant Spark container park.

    Exploring the benefits of controlled environment agriculture, Alana carries out research into the vertical farm’s environmental and social impacts. She investigates how to best use vertical farms as business models that prioritise social and environmental benefits (not just profit) and how they can be encouraged in the food system. She also engages with communities, local businesses and schools, helping them to understand how to transform food systems in a more equitable, healthy and sustainable way.

    Alana is also the Take a bite out of climate change consortium coordinator, where she produces educational resources to engage the public and guide policymakers about food choices to improve human and environmental health. Alana has previously been involved in a wide range of international research food systems related projects funded by N8 AgriFood Policy Hub, STFC Food Network+, STFC GCRF, UKRI GCRF and NERC and British Council.

    Email: alana.kluczkovski@york.ac.uk

  • Dr Ruth Wade

    Research Fellow

    University of Leeds

    Ruth is a Research Fellow in the School of Biology at the University of Leeds. An ecologist at heart, her passion is to use knowledge and ideas from ecological systems in agricultural systems, working towards regenerative farming, whilst maintaining a resilient and productive farming system. Her role in FixOurFood is to quantify the impacts of regenerative farming practices on the soil, plants, interacting organisms and atmosphere. She completed her PhD in 2015, measuring the impact of predicted changes in UK rainfall patterns on barley crop production, plant defence as well as insect pests and their natural enemies. During her time as a Post-doctoral Research Associate, she worked at the University of Sheffield investigating the role of hedgerows and grass leys in supporting soil biodiversity in neighbouring agricultural fields, multifunctional landscape approaches and growth/survival trade-offs in different grass species. For the last three years she has worked as a Research Consultant at ADAS where she delivered research for the agricultural sector as well as worked directly with farmers in the UK, USA and Canada, trying to narrow the gap between actual and potential yields.

    Email: R.Wade@leeds.ac.uk

  • Eugyen Suzanne Om

    PhD Researcher

    University of York

    Suzanne is a PhD student at the University of York. She has a BSc in Environment, Economics and Ecology and an MSc in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management. Her interdisciplinary studies have led to her keen interest in researching food systems due to the interdependencies and connectedness. Her current research focuses on identifying and enabling synergies to support transformation to regenerative food systems. Her wider interests include business and environment, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, environmental psychology, systems thinking and inner and outer transformational change for a sustainable future.

    Email: eso513@york.ac.uk

  • Image of Grace Gardner

    Dr Grace Gardner

    Research Associate

    University of York

    Grace is a Research Associate in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York and is passionate about improving the health and well-being of children through their diets. She has a keen interest in food system regeneration towards one which optimises health and the environment. After achieving a BSc (Hons) in Food Marketing and Nutrition at Newcastle University, Grace completed her PhD at the Population Health Sciences Institute, also at Newcastle University, in 2020. Her research was focused on exploring parental views of the Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign, one year after it was launched. She also completed an in-depth exploration of stakeholder views of primary school food across the socio-economic spectrum in Newcastle upon Tyne. Following the submission of her PhD, Grace spent three months as an embedded researcher within Newcastle City Council’s Public Health department. This was a valuable opportunity which helped to increase her understanding of the challenges involved with developing and delivering public health policy initiatives. She also worked closely with a range of stakeholders who are directly involved in school food provision, to examine ways of improving the school food offering across Newcastle.

    Email: grace.gardner@york.ac.uk

  • image of Angelina Frankowski

    Dr Angelina Frankowski

    Research Associate

    Cranfield University

    Angelina holds a PhD in chemical engineering. She researches on sustainable food production and consumption by applying life cycle thinking to assess environmental impacts of the whole food supply chain. Her research interests also include the food-energy-water nexus, sustainable diets and health impacts of food systems.

    Email: angelina.frankowska@cranfield.ac.uk

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  • Jack Garry

    Research Support Officer

    University of York

    Jack is a Research Support Officer at the University of York’s Health Sciences Department, contributing to the school food aspect of FixOurFood. Before his BA (Hons) in Education, Childhood and Culture from the University of Sheffield, he was a SEND Teaching Assistant in a York Primary School. During his degree he worked on Community Outreach Programmes across South Yorkshire’s Primary and Secondary Schools and worked as a student mentor and a mental health support worker. After graduating he joined York’s Mental Health and Addictions research group exploring the Alcohol Industry’s relationship with Public Health and community pharmacy alcohol interventions. He is now dedicated to improving sustainable and healthy food options and awareness for children in school.

    Email: jack.garry@york.ac.uk

  • Ben Fletcher

    PhD Researcher

    University of York

    Ben is a PhD student within the School for Business and Society at the University of York. He is exploring the key components of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in tackling wicked problems within the food system.

    Alongside his PhD, Ben supports the Bradford District Sustainable Food Partnership where he aided the co-development of the District Food Strategy.

    His research interests include systems transformation, hybrid business models, cross-sector collaboration, economic inclusion, and convenience foods.

    Ben has an MSc in Sustainability & Consultancy and a BA in Childhood Studies from the University of Leeds and varied professional cross-sectoral experience. Previous roles include Local Government Policy & Partnership Support, Consultancy, Youth Programme Delivery, and Manufacturing.
  • Rebecca Lait

    PhD Researcher

    University of York

    Rebecca is undertaking a PhD with FixOurFood, based in the School for Business and Society at the University of York. Having graduated from her undergraduate and masters degrees in Theoretical Physics, Rebecca is keen to apply her analytical and problem solving skills to FixOurFood projects and will be researching the impact of low-emission diets on transforming the food system, as well as how they can be made more accessible and attractive to a range of citizens. Having carried out research in public sector procurement supply chains as well as leading climate change citizen science engagement projects prior to starting her PhD, Rebecca is now bringing together her experiences to contribute to the development of a more regenerative, sustainable and fair food system.

    Email: rsl521@york.ac.uk

  • Nicola Nixon

    PhD Researcher

    University of York

    Nicola is currently working on her PhD with FixOurFood, based in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York. Her research focuses on how school food procurement can impact health and wellbeing outcomes for all children, working towards a more equal, healthier nation in conjunction with regenerating our natural environment. She is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of all children through nutrition and diet and has been directly involved in school food transformation and the implementation of a whole school approach to food as Chair of Governors at a Yorkshire primary school.

    Nicola has 30 years of experience in senior and executive roles in domestic and international, industry leading, businesses working with boards and committees from both the public and private sector. She specialises in risk management, transformational change and restructure, and has extensive experience of using effective monitoring and evaluation to define and drive change. She has worked with a broad range of industries to understand organisational drivers, establish or revise strategic direction and develop supporting actions and policies. She brings a diversity of thought and experience of working in a collaborative manner with key stakeholders and large interdisciplinary teams.

    She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants and a Registered Associate Nutritionist, with a first class BA (hons) in Business Studies and an MSc with distinction in Nutrition.

    Email: nicola.nixon@york.ac.uk

  • Sam Buckton

    PhD Researcher

    University of York

    Sam is currently a PhD researcher at the University of York’s Department of Environment and Geography, researching how learning and evaluation platforms could support food system transformations such as the one that FixOurFood aims to support in Yorkshire. Prior to this, Sam was a Research Assistant with FixOurFood working on designing, delivering, and analysing results of Three Horizons workshops with Yorkshire food system stakeholders to co-create transformative pathways to regenerative futures. He is also researching understandings of regenerative systems and contributing to research on food system synergies. Sam has a BA (Hons) in Biological Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Environmental Economics and Environmental Management from the University of York. His research interests range widely from system transformation, futures methods, new economics, and youth activism in the face of global crises, to natural history, ecology and nature conservation. He is a Research Associate with Global Assessment for a New Economics (GANE) and a Youth Advisory Board member for the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute project exploring youth-led adaptation to climate change in Vietnam. He has also worked with numerous British nature conservation NGOs, including at the RSPB’s innovative Hope Farm, and with the University of Cambridge to produce its Biodiversity Action Plan.

    Email: sam.buckton@york.ac.uk

  • Image of Ulrike Ehgartner

    Dr Ulrike Ehgartner

    Research Associate

    University of York

    Ulrike is a social scientist with a PhD in Sociology based at the York Management School. She is interested in sustainability, consumption and transformational change and she is passionate about co-productive and transdisciplinary forms of research. In her previous work, she focused on sustainable food consumption narratives and imagined futures through the lens of critical discourse analysis.

    In her role as a Research Associate for FixOurFood, she is dedicated to researching hybrid food economy initiatives and how they can impact production to consumption in a regenerative way.

    Email: ulrike.ehgartner@york.ac.uk

  • Dr Christopher Yap

    Research Fellow

    City, University of London

    Christopher is an urban geographer based at the Centre for Food Policy, City University. His research draws on political economy and political ecology perspectives, as well as visual participatory methods, to examine intersections between urbanisation, planning, inequality, and food systems governance. As a Research Fellow on FixOurFood, Christopher is part of a work package that examines and contributes towards developing the policies, governance structures, and decision-making processes that are necessary to transform the UK’s food systems.

    Christopher holds a PhD in human and social geography from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University. He has previously been involved in a wide range of international research projects with University College London, the London International Development Centre, the International Institute for Environment and Development, and FIAN International.

    Email: christopher.yap@city.ac.uk

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