Rebecca White is the Education Coordinator of the Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning programme, or IFSTAL. In this role she collaborates with academics from the five other IFSTAL institutions to deliver a cutting edge blended online and face-to-face food systems learning programme for over 300 graduate students.
After an undergraduate degree in ecology, Rebecca wanted to dig a bit further around the human-linked causes of environmental change and related negative impacts. It was during her MSc in Environmental Change and Management, at the University of Oxford, and while exploring ‘food miles’ as a concept, that she became seriously interested in the relationships between food systems and the environment.
A PhD at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute followed. Taking an interdisciplinary approach linking life-cycle analysis techniques with qualitative interviewing along the supply chain, she investigated product based carbon governance. Building on this she undertook post-doctoral research looking at environment-labour links in India’s rice sector, successfully co-leading a bid to the ESRC-DFID programme on poverty alleviation. A move to SPRU at Sussex University enabled intellectual engagement in the field of science and technology studies, and concepts of resilience. Here her research used participant observation, qualitative interviewing and multicriteria mapping. She has used MCM in collaboration with civil society groups and government agencies.
At the heart of her academic work she has always tried to engage with notions of power, politics, systems, interdisciplinarity and research that has real-world application. She is also keen to work on the research-practice interface and as such was a founder of the Brighton-Sussex Universities Food Network.