Research Fellow - Knowledge, Technology & Society
Institute of Development Studies
at the University of Sussex
Brighton, BN1 6DH
John Thompson has worked on sustainability, power and policy issues in coupled human-environment systems for over 25 years, in both developing and industrialized countries. A resource geographer with a B.Sc. from Penn State University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Clark University, USA, he joined the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK, in 2006 as a senior Research Fellow in Knowledge, Technology and Society. As a member of the STEPS Centre, new interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub that links environmental sustainability and technology change with poverty reduction and social justice, he co-convenes its Food and Agriculture Domain and leads research on Environmental Change and Maize Innovation Pathways in Kenya. Dr. Thompson also serves as Joint Coordinator of the Future Agricultures Consortium, a partnership between African and UK research institutions which undertakes collaborative research and seeks to foster critical debate and policy dialogue on the future of agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of that role, he co-directs the Consortium's research efforts on Science, Technology and Innovation, including a new multi-country research project on the Political Economy of Cereal Seed Systems in Africa and Governing the Green Revolution.
Dr Thompson's research interests include a focus on the dynamics of sustainability in complex, diverse and risk-prone environments, the political ecology of socio-ecological transformations, and the governance of science, technology and innovation, particularly in agri-food systems. He is pursuing several research projects that seek to address the following questions: Given that science and innovation can progress in many alternative directions (and that not of all of these can be realized together), how can our science and policy processes be made more reflexive, deliberative and democratic in choosing which pathways are followed and which are not? How can we achieve global transitions to more sustainable pathways in areas such as food and agriculture, biotechnology and environmental health? And how can we make our technologies and institutions more diverse, adaptive, resilient and socially robust?
Previously, Dr Thompson served as Director of the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme and Director of Programmes and Partnerships at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, and Director of Research and Development of Just Food, New York City. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, technical papers and reports, and is author and co-editor of several books. In addition, he has served on several international task forces, advisory panels and editorial boards, and has worked as a Research Associate at the National Environment Secretariat, Kenya, a Research Fellow at Clark and Harvard Universities, USA, and a Young Fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria.
Dr Thompson recommends:
Adger, W.N. and A. Jordan (eds.) (2009) Governing Sustainability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leach, M., Scoones, I. and Stirling, A. (2007) Pathways to Sustainability: An Overview of the STEPS Centre Approach. STEPS Centre Approach Paper. Brighton: STEPS Centre.
Dr Thompson has (co)authored:
Thompson, J. and Scoones, I. (2009) Addressing the Dynamics of Agri-Food Systems: An Emerging Agenda for Social Science Research. Environmental Science and Policy 12: 386-397.
Scoones, I. and Thompson, J. (eds.) (2009) Farmer First Revisited: Innovation in Agricultural Research and Development. Practical Action Publications: London.
Willing to be mentor to Sustainability Science Fellows
This Network Member is classified within these Core Themes:
Asia and Pacific
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management
Health and Environment
Methods and models
Poverty and Hunger
Sustainability processes and causation