photo of Fiona Marshall

Prof Fiona Marshall

Post:Professor of Environment & Development (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, University of Sussex Business School)

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 877130
International:+44 1273 877130

Research expertise:
download vCarddownload vCard to your mobile


Specialist in environment and development, with over 20 years experience in the design, management and implementation of interdisciplinary  research and engagement initiatives.

My research is concerned with sustainable development and, in particular, the impact of rapid social and environmental change on the livelihoods of poor and marginalised people in the developing world. I examine combined technical, institutional and policy elements of the food-water-energy and environment nexus in the context of poverty alleviation and competing development goals.

I have worked on various aspects of the resilience of food systems in the developing world - with a particular interests in adaptation to local environmental change and in International agricultural research strategy: delivering science and technology appropriate to the needs of the poor.

Much of my recent work has focussed on environment, health and social justice in the context of  rapid urbanisation (particularly in South Asia) , the quest for 'secure' food, water and energy supplies and 'sustainable' cities. With an emphasis on initiatives to recast urban planning initatives through a sustainability lens that combines environmental and social justice considerations.

I have lived and worked extensively overseas. At the University of the South Pacific, I examined benefits of intercropping for smallholder farmers; and at ICRISAT, In Hyderabad, India I researched resource partitioning in agroforesty systems. I have continued to work extensively in South Asia on food and agriculture systems, environmental pollution and peri-urban environmental change, and to undertake research and consultancy assignments in Eastern and Southern Africa.

I have a BSc Hons degree from the University of Reading in Plant Sciences, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham in tropical crop ecology and environmental science. Before joining SPRU at the University of Sussex in 2004 (where I was Deputy Director and Head of Operations from 2005-2008), I was a lecturer in Environment and Development at Imperial College London (1995-2004). Here I led research and policy engagement initiatives on the impacts of environmental pollution on agriculture and associated livelihoods, and established cross campus initiatives concerning International Development. Prior to this I worked in the NGO sector, initially as Overseas projects coordinator at the Henry Doubleday Foundation where she established an information and advisory service for sustainable agriculture initiatives in southern and Eastern Africa. As a consultant, again working across the research, policy and practice divides, I developed an integrated pest management support initiative for southern African NGOs, provided advice to the Stockholm Environment Institute (on assessing pollution impact in developing countries and on regional dialogues on socio-economic impacts) and to DFID on realising potential of research outputs from the Environment Research Programme.


Fiona undertakes transdisciplinary research and postgraduate teaching on environmental change, food systems and mulitple dimensions of food security; science and technology policy in relation to the needs of the poor; the water-energy-food environment nexus, and sustainable urban development in the global south.