SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

photo of Paloma Bernal Hernandez

Miss Paloma Bernal Hernandez

Post:Doctoral Tutor (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit)
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Since 2011 I have been actively involved in the area of social innovation, with the aim of improving the capabilities of vulnerable populations. My specific population of interest is smallholders in agricultural developing clusters. This research interest has involved numerous projects in both academic and private institutions. Throughout this time I have carried out novel research into farmer-to-farmer learning strategies. 

My current research is orientated around network structures to further understand the existing forms of social learning within the oil palm sector in Colombia. I do this by using social network analysis techniques. Further to this, I am in the process of developing a theoretical framework based on the empirical data, which will be used to draw conclusions on how knowledge transfer can be made more efficient. In this way, important practices can be spread further and faster allowing farmers to adjust their technologies accordingly to increase their yields and reduce their vulnerability to external circumstances. Additionally, the analysis of these knowledge networks can identify gaps where links may be formed to improved the networks resilience and enhance the actors potential for social learning.


PhD Researcher in Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU

Supervisors: Dr. Matias Ramirez (SPRU) and Prof. Fiona Marshall (SPRU) 


2013-Present: PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies at SPRU, University of Sussex. Brighton, United Kingdom.

Thesis title: "Social Networks and Social Learning for Adaptation in the Context of Sanitary Crisis: The Case of Small Size Producers of Oil Palm in Colombia"

2012-2013: MA in Social Development. University of Sussex. Brighton, United Kingdom.

Thesis title: “Growing  Cash Crops: An Analysis of Household Food Security among Oil Palm Smallholder Farmers”

2007-2011: MSc in Economic Science (Emphasis on Innovation and Industrial Economics). Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogota, Colombia.

Thesis title: “The social scope of competitive transformation from a social network point of view: the case of small-scale growers in the Colombian oil-palm business.

2002-2007: Undergraduate Degree in Economics. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogota, Colombia.