University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Dr Andrew Ainslie


Programme Director: MSc Agriculture and Development

Other Responsibilities:

  • Co-Lead, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in APD
  • Assessor, APD Research Ethics Committee
  • UCU (Union) representative for APD
  • Academic member, UoR Environmental Management Review Group
  • Academic member, UoR Online Courses Advisory Group
  • Contact in APD for the Agrinatura - the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development
  • MSc dissertation supervisor to around 6 MSc students per year
  • Lead on the free, open online course, funded by EIT-Food: 'Engaging with Controversies in the Food System' see  

Areas of interest

Research Interests:

  • Critical scholarship on international development theory and practice
  • Economic anthropology and contested (inter)cultural interpretations of value
  • System-wide drivers of agrarian change and ecosystem resilience, particularly in East and southern Africa
  • Governance: the role of local/traditional/informal institutions in managing land, livestock and environmental resources
  • Scientific/agricultural/local knowledge systems and interfaces, modes of learning and innovation
  • Food in/security, livelihood analysis and research into inequality and global poverty eradication
  • Drivers of change in the global food system and agricultural commodity/value chains, particularly in relation to global beef production
  • Qualitative research methods, research ethics and interdisciplinarity
  • Technology-enhanced and distance methods of teaching and learning, particularly in the context of the increasingly commoditised Higher Education sector.

Postgraduate supervision

Postgraduate supervision:

I am interested to discuss proposals from prospective doctoral students in any of the areas of my research interests mentioned above, particularly but not exclusively in relation to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Current PhD supervision: (as First supervisor)

  • Shahrina Rahman, 'Social Resilience and Adaptation to Climate change: The voice of Disabled people in Bangladesh.' Registered in Oct 2017. (co-supervised first with Prof. Ruth Evans, currently with Dr. Jo Davies).
  • Anastasia Ngenyi, Understanding participatory approaches to biodiversity conservation in the TRIDOM, Congo Basin forest, Central Africa.' Registered in Oct 2018. (co-supervised with Dr. Jo Davies).
  • Chimkanma Wigwe, 'Stakeholders' efforts toward developing artisanal fish farmers' resilience to oil spillage in Rivers State, Nigeria.' Commonwealth Scholarship recipient. Registered in Oct 2018. (co-supervised with Prof. Chittur Srinivasan).
  • Gilbert Ngwaneh Miki, 'The contribution of the Home-Grown School Feeding Model for food security and poverty alleviation amongst small scale farmers in Malawi'. Commonwealth Scholarship recipient. Registered Sep 2019. (co-supervised with Prof. Peter Dorward).
  • Catherine Wong, 'On the climate security nexus: Peacebuilding and climate action in Somalia. Registered Apr 2019. (co-supervised with Dr. Jo Davies).

(And as Second supervisor):

  • Christopher Mweembe, 'Cash Transfers, Social exclusion and Inequality in social protection programmes in Binga District, Zimbabwe.' - with Dr. Alex Arnall.
  • Al Hassan Cisse, 'An Evidence-Based Analysis of Synergies between Agricultural Interventions and Social Protection to Address Climate Change Adaptation for Food Security in Senegal.' - with Prof. Henny Osbahr.

Completed PhD students:

  • Zainab Aliyu, 'How effective is the climate justice movement in sub-Saharan Africa?' Registered Oct 2017. Recipient of a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship in Climate Justice (co-supervised with Dr. Filippo Menga). Zainab graduated in Dec 2021.
  • Atenchong Talleh Nkobou, 'Political economy of large-scale land investments and the right to adequate food in Tanzania.' Commonwealth Scholarship recipient. Registered in Oct 2016. (co-supervised with Prof. Rosa Freedman). Atenchong graduated in Dec 2021.
  • Heather Maggs, 'On the subject of donkeys (in China and Ghana).' (second supervisor, co-supervised with Prof. Richard Bennett). Recipient of funding from The Donkey Sanctuary. Heather graduated in Dec 2021.[AA1]
  • Africa Bauza Garcia-Arcicollar, 'Towards Just Climate Futures: Embracing islanders' hopes and aspirations in the context of climate-related migration in the Maldives.' Recipient of a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship in Climate Justice. (second supervisor, co-supervised with Dr. Alex Arnall). Africa graduated in Dec 2021.
  • Sam Poskitt, 'Investigating the benefits of Participatory Scenario Planning for tackling social-ecological problems.' (First supervisor, co-supervised with Dr. Kerry Waylen at the James Hutton Institute). Joint ESRC and James Hutton Institute scholarships. Sam graduated in Jul 2018.
  • David Enibe, 'Breadfruit and development in south eastern Nigeria' (second supervisor, co-supervision with Peter Dorward). David graduated in Dec 2017.
  • Joana Vaz Sousa, 'People-wildlife interactions in Guinea-Bissau.' (second supervisor, co-supervision with Prof. Kate Hill at Oxford Brookes University). Joana graduated in March 2015.


I am the Module Convenor for:

  • IDM099: Global Environmental Change, Justice and Development (MSc level, 20 credits)
  • APMA103: Rethinking Agricultural Development: Implementing Solutions (MSc level, 20 credits)
  • AP2ID2: Approaches to Development (Part 2, 20 credits)
  • APMA108: Livestock, Livelihoods and Food Security (MSc level, 10 credits, online only distance learning module).

And I contribute to teaching on

  • IDM095: Theories and Practices of Development
  • APMA102: Ecosystem Services
  • AP1A28: Global Sustainability, Challenges and Prospects 

Research projects

Between 2016-2019, I was Co-I on the HyCRISTAL project, which was part of the Future Climate for Africa research programme, funded by DFID/NERC. I engaged in research into livelihood and resource use adaptations to changes in agro-climatic conditions by people resident in the Lake Victoria Basin in the Central Region, Uganda. See

I have long-term ethnographic research in land and agrarian change and livestock production in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.


I trained as a social anthropologist. My specialism is in understanding change in agrarian environments and specifically in livestock systems. I conduct research that is most often at the interface between different knowledge systems. I read for a BSocSc (Honours) with distinction and an MSocSc (both Rhodes University) with distinction, and in 2005 I completed a PhD in Social Anthropology (University College London), having earlier won a Commonwealth Scholarship. In 2012, I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.

Starting in 1994, I have worked as a researcher in a university context, for a parastatal agricultural institution, and for a development NGO. In 2009, I conducted fieldwork research into indigenous veterinary practices in South Africa, taking up an Oppenheimer Visiting Fellowship at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University, to write up this material. In early 2010, I took up a position at the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, where I worked in the Scenarios Development Team of the CGIAR programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). In 2011, I secured an early career fellowship in 'Environment, Conservation and Development' at Oxford Brookes University (2011-2012). I was appointed Lecturer in International Rural Development at the University of Reading in January 2013.

Professional bodies/affiliations

I am a Discipline Expert for the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara) Syria programme - see

I am an Associate Editor (since Sep 2013) of the African Journal of Range and Forage Science. I am a Committee Member of the 'Anthropology and the Environment' Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London. I review papers for a large number of journals, I have reviewed research proposals for ESRC and GCRF, and I have served on Assessment Panels for various research programmes, including the DFID/NERC/ESRC Ecosystems Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme and for the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa.


Loading your publications ...