Dr Rachel MarshallSenior Research Associate
I am interested in how knowledge exchange between researchers and the wider stakeholder community can effectively deliver greater societal and environmental impact from research. I work on food systems and how engagement at local and national levels can support the transition to more sustainable and resilient food systems. I am particularly interested in developing researcher engagement and collaboration with stakeholders from policy, NGOs and community groups.
My research interests have spanned a number of different areas related to the development of sustainable and resilient food systems. My initial research focus was in soils and the influence of agricultural practices on soil health and associated ecosystem processes including greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage. This led to a research position with the NERC Resource Recovery from Waste funded project ‘Adding Value to Ash and Digestate (AVAnD)’ here at Lancaster where we looked to improve the circular economy of nutrient use in agriculture.
Through this project I became interested in knowledge exchange between researchers, industry and policy makers particularly as resources and waste was moving up the policy agenda. In this role I had the opportunity to contribute to the Government Chief Scientist’s report: From Waste to Resource Productivity co-authoring a case study of our Lancaster University AVAnD project for the report.
Given the opportune timing with Defra’s focus on a new ‘Resources and Waste strategy’ we were awarded funding for a policy impact fellow on the Resources Recovery from Waste programme. In this position I developed coherent recommendations for policy makers from across the six projects funded within the research programme. My activity within this role included:
- policy notes for MPs, policy makers and industry on resource recovery from industrial and organic wastes
- contributing to government consultations and working groups around waste and resources
- organising a Westminster event ‘ A strategy for valuing resources and waste’ in collaboration with the Sustainable Resources All Party Parliamentary Group.
I am now a knowledge exchange fellow as part of the N8 AgriFood programme as well as providing knowledge exchange expertise to a number of other projects including the Global Food Security project RePhoKUS. In these roles I specialise in connecting food systems researchers from different disciplines and research areas with each other and with the wider stakeholder community. This role is extremely varied with activity ranging from organising events, writing research proposals and developing resources for engagement. I am currently involved in projects in sustainable food procurement, circular economy of nutrients and soil health policy.