Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc, PhD

Fiorella joined the Natural Resources Institute in early 2020 as Research Fellow in Gender and Diversity in Food Systems. She is trained as a development economist and her interdisciplinary research is positioned at the intersection of agriculture, economics of food and nutrition in the Global South.

Her academic practice is informed by mixed-methods approaches and primary data collection. Fiorella’s areas of study include food and nutrition security, agricultural seasonality, nutrition impacts of food price crises, intra-household labour dynamics and work intensity. She has field experience in Ghana, India and Indonesia.

Before joining the NRI, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development), where she worked on multiple agri-nutrition research projects adopting innovative technologies for robust data collection and estimations.

She completed her PhD at SOAS, University of London (funded by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health). Her thesis developed innovative methods and tools from the field of agricultural economics and nutrition to examine pathways of food price fluctuations on food security and nutrition.  

Fiorella has extensive experience in teaching and supervision at undergraduate and graduate level. She has developed and convened modules and summer schools as well as delivering guest lectures in various institutions. Before joining academia, she worked at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN as grains market analyst, contributing to flagship publications (FAO Food Price Index, Food Outlook, FAO Global Markets Monitor). She has a BSc in Cooperation and International Development (University of Pavia, Italy) and an MSc in Development Economics (University of Florence, Italy).

  • Trajectories of labour intensification, well-being and gender in rural livelihoods;
  • Questions of nutritional challenges among adolescents;
  • Relationship between rural transformation, climate adaptation and nutrition through a social reproduction lens;
  • Development of innovative methods and interdisciplinary approaches in food systems analysis.

GCRF Equitable Resilience, ‘Depleted by Debt? Focusing a Gendered Lens on Climate, Credit and Nutrition in Translocal Cambodia and South India’ (2019-2021).

Facing growing crises of agricultural productivity and taking primary responsibility for the nutritional wellbeing of their households, women are targeted as credit borrowers globally. Credit provisioning therefore speaks to the push for 'resilience' against climate disasters. But how do we ensure that small-scale credit as a tool for 'climate resilience' does not come at the cost of women's emotional and bodily depletion through processes of household nutrition provisioning? This is the key concern motivating this two-year multidisciplinary project which is set within the political economy contexts of Cambodia and Tamil Nadu, India.

GCRF, ‘Breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition, food security and poverty in low-income countries: Making the case for adolescent girls and boys in India and Nepal’ (2019-2020)

The project aims to understand the health and nutrition inequality among adolescents, a population group that has, until recently, been largely missing in the nutrition literature in LMICs. We will unpack the pathways between life stages, occupation and nutritional status and, by using innovative technologies, we will explicitly incorporate the energy expenditure dimension in the analysis of undernutrition among adolescent boys and girls. We adopt a mixed-method and multi-scalar approaches to determine the drivers of nutrition inequalities among adolescents coming from poor and marginalised communities in Telangana (India) and Nepal.

GCRF Pump-Priming, ‘Through the Looking Glass: Applying a Gender Lens to Agricultural Transformation, Labour Intensification and Nutrition Outcomes in Rural Livelihoods in LMICs’ (2019-2020).

The project aims to explore the potential of the ongoing technology revolution in consumer-oriented wearable devices to transform empirical research on gender differentials, intra-household dynamics, nutrition outcomes and labour productivity in rural livelihoods (in Telangana and Odisha state). The new metrics can significantly improve the design and impact evaluation of interventions related to maternal and child nutrition, women’s empowerment, and agricultural technology adoption in rural contexts in the Global South.

BBSRC ‘Development of novel value chain from cocoa pod husks in Indonesia: Technological, environmental and socio-economic challenges of a value chain’ (2017-2018)

The project will take an integrative approach to identify and address holistically the technological, environmental, economic and societal challenges of developing a novel value chain for cocoa pod husks in Indonesia. This is important as it will ensure that the strategies in this value chain are viable for use in Indonesia and have a positive impact on the welfare and economic stability of the farmers, as well as the environment.

  • Brickell, K., Picchioni, F., Natarajan, N., Guermond, V., Parsons, L., Zanello, G., Bateman, M. (2020) Compounding crises of social reproduction : Microfinance, over-indebtedness and the COVID-19 pandemic. World Development, Vol. 136, 105087, 12.2020, p. 1-4.
  • Picchioni F., Zanello, G., Srinivasan C., Wyatt A., Webb P. (2020) Gender, Time-Use, and Energy Expenditures in Rural Communities in India and Nepal. World Development (in Press)
  • Zanello, G., Srinivasan, C. S., Picchioni, F., Webb, P., Nkegbe, P., Cherukuri, R., & Neupane, S. (2020). Physical activity, time use, and food intakes of rural households in Ghana, India, and Nepal. Scientific Data, 7(1), 1-10.
  • Srinivasan, C. S., Zanello, G., Nkegbe, P., Cherukuri, R., Picchioni, F., Gowdru, N., & Webb, P. (2020). Drudgery reduction, physical activity and energy requirements in rural livelihoods. Economics & Human Biology, 37, 100846.
  • Picchioni F., Aleksandrowicz L., Aurino E., Bruce M., Cuevas S., Dominguez-Salas P., et al. (2017). Roads to interdisciplinarity – Working at the nexus between food systems, nutrition and health. Food Security, (2017) 9: 181
  • Picchioni F., Aleksandrowicz L., Bruce M., Cuevas S., Dominguez-Salas P., Jia L., et al. (2105). Agri-health research: what have we learned and where do we go next? Food Security, 8 (1), 291-298
  • Kanter, R., Augusto, G. F., Walls, H. L., Cuevas, S., Flores-Martinez, A., Morgan, E. H., ... & Picchioni, F. (2014). 4th Annual Conference of the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), Agri-food policy and governance for nutrition and health, London, 3–4 June 2014. Food security, 6(5), 747-753.

Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), Full PhD Scholarship (£~45,000)

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