Julian May is the Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at the University of the Western Cape. He has worked on options for poverty reduction including land reform, social grants, information technology and urban agriculture in Africa and in the Indian Ocean Islands. He has also worked on the development and use of systems for monitoring the impact of policy using official statistics, impact assessment and action research. His current research focuses on food security, childhood deprivation and malnutrition. He has been an associate researcher at Oxford University, the University of Manchester and the International Food Policy Research Institute. He currently serves on the South African Statistics Council, is a Member of the Academy of Science in South Africa, is the President of the South African Development Studies Association and is a Research Fellow in the Comparative Research Programme of Poverty at the University of Bergen. He has edited 6 books and published over 60 papers in books and academic journals.
In 2009 the National Research Foundation awarded him a Tier One South African Research Chair in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment.