Nigel Poole originally trained in natural sciences and agricultural extension. He switched into socioeconomics and became an academic after working as a cowboy, among other things, in Paraguay, South America. He has experience researching in diverse countries in Latin America, the Mediterranean Basin, Sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia. His interests are in agriculture and natural resources, agrifood systems organisation and performance, and nutrition, principally in developing economies.
He has recently been working on agrifood health and nutrition and value chain linkages with a UK government-funded multi-institutional research programme called LANSA in South Asia, covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. For this programme he led the Afghanistan Working Group and the value chain research in all the countries. During 2019-2020 he worked as a Visiting Fellow with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. He is Emeritus Professor of International Development at the SOAS University of London.