Leadership team

Professor Matthew Thomas


Matthew Thomas is Professor of Ecological Entomology in the Department of Biology at the University of York. He has held previous positions in the UK, Australia and the US.

Matthew is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and past Chair of American Committee of Medical Entomology (subgroup of American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene).

Matthew’s research centers on the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases, with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change and improving the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management. He has worked across diverse natural and managed systems addressing varied problems in temperate and tropical settings including species invasions, biodiversity loss, agricultural intensification, pesticide resistance, and climate change. His focus in recent years has been to transfer insights from ecology and agriculture into the public health arena, with extensive research on vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

Professor Bob Doherty

Sustainable Food Research Theme Leader

Bob Doherty is Professor of Marketing and Chair of Agrifood at the University of York and leads a 4-year interdisciplinary research programme on food resilience titled ‘IKnowFood’ (Global Food Security funded).

Bob specialises in research on hybrid organisations namely the marketing and management aspects of fair trade pioneers and social enterprises. Bob is a member of the organising committees for the International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) and is founding editor emeritus of the Social Enterprise Journal (published by Emerald).

He is currently a trustee on the board of the Fairtrade Foundation and the Food Systems Fellow for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Prior to moving into academia Bob spent 5-years as the Head of Sales and Marketing at the Fairtrade social enterprise pioneer Divine Chocolate Ltd.

Tony Heron

Sustainable Food Research Theme Co-Lead

Tony Heron is Professor of International Political Economy and N8 AgriFood Chair at the University of York.

Tony’s current work is centered on interdisciplinary global food systems research, sustainability governance in global value chains and the political economy of agriculture in the context of the UK’s exit from the EU.

He is a principal/co-investigator on a number of interdisciplinary research projects, including ‘The UK-Latin American Soy Connection’ (N8 Agrifood at York), ‘Promoting Effective Sustainability Governance in Global Supply Chains’ (ESRC IAA), ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’ (UK BBSRC), ‘Immigration and Wellbeing’, (Nuffield Foundation) and ‘CASCADE - Climate Change and Systemic Risks: Adaptive and Resilient Europe’ (EU Horizon 2020). Tony is also co- editor of the journal New Political Economy.

Professor Jane Hill

Resilient Ecosystems Research Theme Leader

Jane Hill is Professor of Ecology in the Department of Biology, University of York and leads the University's contribution to the Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research project (SEnSOR), testing the impacts of certification for sustainable oil palm production.

Jane is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a trustee of the British Ecological Society, and a trustee of the SE Asia Rainforest Research Partnership.

Jane's research examines the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, focussing on the interactive effects of habitat loss and climate change and how to conserve species in human-modified landscapes.

Professor Alistair Boxall

Urban Living Research Theme Leader

Alistair Boxall is Professor in Environmental Science in the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York and is Principal Investigator for the York City Environment Observatory (YCEO) Project.

Alistair was a member of the Defra Advisory Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee and the UK Veterinary Products Committee. He regularly advises national/international organisations on issues relating to chemical impacts on the environment and has published on the topic of emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials and veterinary medicines) in the environment.

Alistair’s research focuses on understanding emerging and future ecological and health risks posed by chemical contaminants in the natural environment.