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.

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 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 - monitoring and evaluation, learning and impact.

I have established expertise and experience in interdisciplinary research initiatives which span the natural and social sciences; working on concepts, methods and innovative approaches for developing multi-disciplinary assessments of environment-related risks to health and livelihoods and enhancing response capacity. I combine a background in tropical crop ecology and environmental science with increasing expertise in analysis of socio-ecological systems and policy analysis and engagement. Many of the project that I am involved in engage with a diverse array of scientists, policy makers,  national governmental and international agencies, civil society organisations, industrialists and farming communities.

I am currently involved in the following collaborative research Grants:

Risks and Responses to Urban Futures: Integrating peri-urban/urban synergies into urban development planning for enhanced ecosystem service benefits Funder: ESPA (NERC-ESRC-DFID). Focus south Asia. 

Sustainable Urban Development Resilience and vulnerability at the urban Nexus of food, water, energy and the environment Funder: FAPESP-ESRC-NOW.  Case studies in Uganda Bulgaria and Brazil. 

Understanding trade-offs between SDG's in urbanising contexts Funder: Sussex sustainability research programme. Principle Investigator.

Promoting Relevant Science, Technology and Innovation in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda’ Funder: DFID

The urban land nexus and inclusive urbanisation in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Khartoum’ Funder: DFID

Transformative Pathways to Sustainability: learning across disciplines, cultures and contexts’ with regional hub partners in Kenya, Mexico, China, Argentina, Stockholm. Funder UNESCO via ISSC.

Social Technical and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre Funder: ESRC. leading the urban research theme, including the following projects: Pathways to Environmental Health in Transitional Spaces in India and China (2007-2010); Peri-Urban Sustainability in South Asian Cities (2007-2014); Establishment of a South Asia sustainability hub for our global consortium – launched 2016; Urban sustainability transformations – alliance building and democratisation of urban governance (2016-17)

Resilient Urban Soils in India’: new transdisciplinary approaches to support sustainable urban agriculture. Funder: NERC. Forthcoming

Social Science of the Nexus Network Plus’, Funder: ESRC. This initiative fosters debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment.


Completed grants include:

Contaminated irrigation water and food safety for the peri-urban poor: appropriate measure for monitoring and control in India and Zambia.  Project leader: Fiona Marshall. DFID EnKar Programme 2003-2007 (£286,856)

Enhancing food chain integrity: quality assurance mechanisms for air pollution impacts on fruit and vegetable systems in India.  Project leader: Fiona Marshall. DFID Crop Post Harvest Programme 2000-2003 (£300,238)

The impacts and policy implications of air pollution effects on urban and peri-urban agriculture in India. Project leader: Fiona Marshall. DFID Environment Research Programme. 1997-2000 (£197,000)

Other grants and studentships have included sponsorship from NERC, the ESRC the British Council and Oxfam.