Session 1 Speakers

Dr Anna Krzywoszynska (Chair)

Faculty Research Fellow Geography, The University of Sheffield

Anna Krzywoszynska is a Faculty of Social Sciences Research Fellow. She is also an Associate Director at the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food. Her research concerns agriculture and food as the key spheres for the interaction between human and more-than-human worlds. She is especially interested in environmental knowledge, ethics, and affect, and how these shape and are shaped by rural and food-related spaces and practices. Her work engages frequently with the natural sciences. Consequently, her research also investigates the potential for ‘opening up’ the spaces of scientific knowledge production to non-certified expertise, as well as challenging the persistent division of labour between social and natural sciences in speaking about materiality, life, and ecology. For the last few years Anna has been exploring the reconceptualization of soils as lively ecosystems in conventional agricultural practice and its related knowledge fields, and the consequences of this for the future of agriculture and land use.

Anna graduated in European Social and Political Studies, specialising in Anthropology, at University College London (2002), and obtained her PhD degree in Geography at the University of Sheffield (2012). She then held a position as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the department of Geography, Durham University, as part of a transdisciplinary project funded by the EPSRC. During that time she also worked as an ESRC Nexus Network-funded Fellow at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Anna’s research to date has engaged with key sustainability themes, including food production and consumption (PhD), renewable energy (PDRA), and waste and sustainability (PhD).

Professor Tim Daniell (Chair)

N8 Chair in Soil Microbiology, The University of Sheffield

After a PhD in Warwick and post-docs in Durham, Lancaster and York Tim took up a Principal Investigator position at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (now James Hutton Institute) in Dundee in 2000 as a research lead in soil ecology and later Theme Leader in Sustainable Production Systems (2013-16).  At the Institute he developed a group focusing on soil ecology, especially in linking activity to the dynamics of the relevant microbial groups. In 2016 he became ‘Professor of Soil Microbiology’ at the University of Sheffield maintaining a 30% position at the Hutton. His current research focuses mainly on:The interaction between plants and soil function, Arbuscular mycorrhizal ecology andThe application of nematode dynamics as a measure of soil health.

Dr Beth Brockett

Senior Specialist, Natural England

Beth currently works in an interdisciplinary team supporting the development of the new Environmental Land Management system. She has a particular interest in the role of advice and working with different forms of knowledge to promote sustainable land management. Beth’s background is in social science, ecology and soil science and she has previously worked as a farm conservation advisor, an interdisciplinary academic researcher and as a community development practitioner. Beth has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, a Parliamentary briefing paper and for specialist magazines.


Eric Anderson

Senior Agronomist, Scottish Agronomy

Eric Anderson took a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture at the University of Aberdeen.  He first worked as a consultant with ADAS in England for 9 years before joining SAC in Scotland for a further 10 years. He is now the Potato Specialist and Senior Agronomist for Scottish Agronomy Ltd, providing strategic consultancy and applied research to a large, UK-wide and international client base.  Eric has a wealth of practical knowledge in soil management, arable crop and grassland agronomy with over thirty four years of experience providing consultancy to commercial and farm businesses in the UK, Egypt, Japan, U.S.A., Hungary, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Poland. He is a Director of Scottish Agronomy Ltd.  Scottish Agronomy Ltd is the leading organisation in Scotland devoted to the provision of impartial advice to arable farmers. Scottish Agronomy Ltd member client base includes in excess of 6,500 Ha of potatoes as well as 50,000 Ha of cereals.


Dr Tracie Evans

Head of Natural Science, Environmental Land Management, DEFRA

Tracie currently leads the natural science workstream within an interdisciplinary evidence team supporting the design and development of the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme. Their workstream comprises a wide range of expertise including climate change science, hydrology and ecology. As a workstream they are responsible for providing cross-cutting evidence to support policy decisions including: which environmental outcomes we should pay for in ELM; how environmental outcomes can be delivered and how we can monitor change in environmental outcomes and thus, the success of ELM. Her background is in ecology and entomology, having worked in numerous research institutes looking at plant-insect-crop relationships and studying for a PhD looking at the implications of land management on the movement and behaviour of pollinators.

Professor Karen Johnson

Professor in Environmental Engineering, Durham University

Karen is an environmental engineer with a passion for soil. Her work involves using sustainable soil improvement technologies to enhance soil functions like flood and drought resilience. She works with a range of stakeholders in both the global north and the global  south. Karen’s  aspirations include working with Parliament and the UN to raise soil up the political agenda as well as understanding the role of mineral-organic interactions in maintaining and enhancing soil health and she enjoys working with a range of colleagues from different disciplines in this work and is particularly interested in championing interdisciplinary research and exploring more inclusive mechanisms for how best to work towards the UK’s sustainable development goals.