Knowledge for a sustainable world

A devastating factory fire, a deadly building collapse or severe environmental damage highlight the consequences of irresponsible business. Though less widely reported, in many countries the exploitation of workers and human rights abuses occur on a daily basis, including non-payment of the minimum wage or poor working conditions.

A value chain, or the journey a commodity takes from production to consumer, involves a variety of activities performed by different operators, with the aim of delivering a valuable product to the market and eventually the consumer. Each link in the chain can pose a potential loss in value, or serve as an opportunity to ensure sustainable development for the people and natural environment involved.

Many people know cashew nuts as a favourite snack or ingredient, though unless you’ve seen them growing, you might be surprised to know that the ‘nut’ is actually a seed, which grows from the bottom of a curious ‘cashew-apple’.

Clare Hopson

Postharvest Technical Assistant

Why or how did you get into science?

When I was younger my original plan was to be an artist and I pursued this path until degree level. Not what you were expecting, right? So, we can safely say I fell into science! However, I admit to being curious by nature; I can have an interest and will have a go at most things, love the outdoors and nature and also enjoy a range of activities which worked well for art, but also works well for science!

Dr Sophie Bouvaine

Plant & Insect Molecular Biologist

Why or how did you get into science?

I have always liked science, so it was an obvious choice for me, what kind of science to do was less clear though, it took a few trials and errors to decide.

Dr Fiorella Picchoni

Fellow in Gender and Diversity in Food Systems

Why or how did you get into science?

I am a social scientist, so not a “conventional” scientist working in a lab, and I got into my field of research because I met inspiring and passionate lecturers during my undergraduate study, who involved me in their projects and got me totally hooked.

Dr/Professor Deborah Rees

Principal Scientist, Reader in Plant Physiology

Why or how did you get into science?

I have always been more interested in science than the arts. For me the question was whether to go for basic or applied science. Fairly early on, I realised I was more interested in the application of science.

Dr Victoria Woolley

Post–doctoral Research Fellow

Why or how did you get into science?

Biology was always my favorite subject at school- I especially liked learning about plants and ecology! I went on to study biology at university and still found it really interesting, so decided that I wanted to use it in my career.

Dr Sarah Arnold

Senior Lecturer - Insect Behaviour and Ecology

Why or how did you get into science?

At school I realised I was good at science in general, but biology in particular enthused me, and I realised I wanted a pathway that was more curiosity-driven than medicine/veterinary science. So, I applied to study Natural Sciences at university, eventually specialising in Plant Science.

Dr Aurelie Bechoff

Senior Research Fellow & Food Tecnologist

Why or how did you get into science?

At school, I was always torn between science and literature, but then I moved towards science and biology for my baccalaureate (A level in France) and carried on in the science field at university.

Tania Martinez Cruz

Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology / Public Health / Development Studies

Why or how did you get into science?

I grew up in a rural community in Oaxaca, Mexico where creativity was probably driven by the resources, but also the limitations we had. My parents were indigenous teachers, which basically means they taught children to speak and read using both our native language Mixe and Spanish.

Associate Professor Lora Forsythe

Associate Professor in Gender, Inequalities and Food Systems

Why or how did you get into science?

My parents really encouraged my brother, sister, and I to be curious about the world and to care about society.  This foundation, and an inspiring teacher, encouraged me to go to university, when many of my peers were not doing so, to study in the social sciences to understand how societies work and how they relate to the environment.