Knowledge for a sustainable world

Hannah Hyde

Seventy-five of the most promising research leaders, recently recognised by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will benefit from a £101 million fund to tackle major global issues and commercialise their innovations in the UK.

We are excited to announce that NRI’s Dr Fiorella Picchioni, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy of Food Systems, is a Future Leaders Fellow! The fellowship will support the creation of the interdisciplinary, multi-country and innovative Observatory for Research and Practice on Food Systems and Social Reproduction to address inequalities in food production and build resilience to socio-economic and environmental shocks.  

Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) support talented people in universities, businesses, and other research and innovation environments. The scheme aims to develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders by providing long-term support, enabling fellows to tackle new or emerging research and innovation areas, ambitious programs, or multidisciplinary questions. 

Meet Dr Fiorella Picchioni

Fiorella is an applied development economist whose work is grounded in political and feminist economics theories and methods. 

Fiorella began her career with a master’s in development economics and worked as a grains market analyst with the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome. However, her work seemed too detached from the social aspects of food security and nutrition, and as a social scientist by training, she strongly felt the need to explore the connections between various aspects of the food system’s challenges. This led Fiorella to pursue a PhD at SOAS, University of London, where she began changing how she looked at food security and nutrition. She started exploring inequality, intersectionality, ownership, distribution of profits, and how they intersect with food and nutrition security in the Global South. Today, Fiorella is a senior lecturer at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), founder and co-chair of the ANH Political Economy of Agri-Nutrition Working Group and she co-leads the Gender and Social Difference programme at NRI. Her work has been published in several journals: World Development, Food Security, Antipodes, and Canadian Journal of Development Studies, among others.

The Impact of a Future Leaders Fellowship

‘It is an incredible opportunity and privilege to be assigned such a prestigious fellowship…the Future Leaders Fellowship comes with a whole suite of support, training, [and] community that focuses on the growth and development of each fellow. I would like to express my gratitude to my collaborators, mentors, and my colleagues at NRI and the University of Greenwich.’

Being awarded a Future Leaders Fellowship will be an incredible stepping stone for Fiorella as an academic. ‘My hope is that our programme will bring (productive and reproductive) labour relations and unequal power dynamics to the centre of food systems research, advocacy and policy.’ Through this fellowship, she will have unique opportunities to create new partnerships globally and with the different cohorts of fellows, a fantastic community of people doing visionary research. Additionally, Fiorella will have the time and equipment needed to do focused research, which she states is a luxury in academia today.

 Fiorella Picchioni

“There is a need for research that is critical, that thinks outside the box, that brings new ideas and challenges the status quo. My advice to anyone [is] to think big and don’t worry that your idea feels ambitious because you are addressing some difficult questions. If you have those ideas and feel you have put your finger on something that’s ambitious and uncomfortable, go for it, because it really pays off.” – Dr Fiorella Picchioni