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Professor and DST/NRF Bio-economy Research Chair, University of Cape Town

I am an academic and policy analyst with research focused on bio-politics and the biodiversity-based economy, access and benefit sharing, and alternative agricultural futures and agroecology. Based in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT, I hold a national DSI/NRF SARChI Chair on Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Bioeconomy. With a background in the natural and social sciences, I have a strong interest in interdisciplinarity and policy engagement across the humanities, arts and sciences.

Over the past twenty years I have advised governments, civil society organisations and international agencies, and continue to be actively involved with policy debates and civil society movements in southern Africa and beyond, serving on the Boards of Biowatch South Africa, Environmental Monitoring Group, and the Union for Ethical Biotrade. I am an elected member of the Academy of Science in South Africa, a member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP) Expert Group, a founder member of the Seed and Knowledge Initiative, and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Sustainable Use assessment.

I am strongly committed to engaged scholarship, and aim to produce socially robust and scientifically rigorous research that matters, that addresses social and environmental justice, and that values the architectures of different knowledge systems.


  • 2013–present
    Research chair, University of Cape Town


  • 2006 
    University of Strathclyde, PhD Environmental Science
  • 1993 
    University of Cape Town, MPhil
  • 1991 
    University of Cape Town, MSc