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. I have extensive experience in developing research teams and leading empirical projects in the developing world - engaging with scientists, policy makers,  national governmental and international agencies, civil society organisations, industrialists and farming communities.

Selected Research Grants:

Title: Risks and Responses to Urban Futures: rural-urban synergies for enhanced ecosystem services and poverty alleviation. (2014-2016)

Funder: ESPA programme (NERC-ESRC-DFID)

Overall PI: Fiona Marshall.  Co-Is: Jorn Scharlemann (Sussex Life Sciences); Linda Waldman (Sussex Institute of Development Studies); Priyanie Amerasinghe (International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka); Milap Punia, Pranav Desai, Ramila Bisht, Ritu Priya (Jawarhalal Nehru University, JNU India); Ravi Agarwal (NGO Toxcislnk New Delhi); Madhoolika Agrawal (Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India)

Title: ‘Social Science of the Nexus Network Plus’. (2014-2017)

Funder: ESRC funded initiative

This initiative fosters debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment. Participation in the network is open to researchers from all disciplines, and to decision makers in government, business and civil society. I am a co-investigator on this initiative.

Title: Co-Lab for innovation and sustainability (exploring collaborative research approaches in peri-urban research and action).

Funder: Welton Foundation USA, via Arizona State University. 

Sussex PI Fiona Marshall with Andy Stirling and Ed Hackett, Hailie Eakin (Arizona) and colleagues at Jawarhalal Nehru University and various Delhi based NGOs and community groups.

Title: Environmental Health in transitional spaces: Alternatives pathways for urban waste management in India. (2011-2015)

Funder: A STEPS centre project funded by the ESRC

Fiona is a member of the (joint SPRU-IDS) ESRC funded Research Centre on Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS). In STEPS phase 1 (2006-2011) she co-convened research on urbanisation/peri-urban sustainability with Lyla Mehta at IDS. This research examined how Sustainability can be defined and sought in the context of peri-urban areas in South Asia; using water management as an entry point. In STEPS Phase II (2011-2015) she leads a strand of work on environmental health. Core international research partners for empirical work associated with this initiative include Jawaharlal Nehru University, The Delhi based NGO Toxicslink and Delhi University.

Fiona is involved in the Agriculture Learning and Impact Network (ALINe)  hosted at the Institute of Development Studies and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative aims to improve agricultural outcomes and well being for poor smallholder farmers in Africa and South Asia through specialist research, training and technical support on impact planning and learning.

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.