Session 8 Speakers


Professor Sue Hartley OBE (Chair)

Director, York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI)

Sue is acting academic director of the N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme.
Her research focuses on using natural plant defences as a sustainable means of crop protection. She has a Biochemistry degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Ecology from the University of York. She joined the University of Sussex in 2001, and it was here where her long-standing interest in the use of silicon to increase crop resilience to drought, disease and insect pests began. In 2010 she moved to the University of York to become the founding Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, an innovative research partnership bringing together leading researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle key global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and threats to food security.
To find out more about Sue’s research on the battle between plants and their pests you can watch her 2009 Royal Institution’s Christmas Lecture – ‘The 300 Million Year War’.
Sue has previously advised both the European Food Safety Authority and the European Commission on the ecological effects of genetically modified crops and is currently a member of the BBSRC’s Strategy Advisory Panel on Agriculture and Food Security, Chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Research Innovation Club, and President of the British Ecological Society. sue.hartley@york.ac.uk


Dr Ben Richardson

Dr Ben Richardson is Associate Professor in International Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. His research is on international trade and sustainable development, with a focus on agricultural commodities. His most recent book is Sugar (Polity: Cambridge, 2015).


Sue Davies MBE

Strategic Policy Partner, WHICH?

Sue Davies, Strategic Policy Partner at Which?, leads the organisation’s policy work on food issues. She is also responsible for Which?’s wider work on Brexit, trade policy and the consumer landscape, including general product safety. She has represented consumer interests on a range of national and international committees. She was the Chair of the European Food Safety Authority from 2012-2016 and has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her work on food safety.


Dr Sofia Vasilopoulou

Senior Lecturer in Politics, The University of York

Sofia Vasilopoulou (PhD LSE) is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. Her work examines political dissatisfaction with democracy and democratic institutions across Europe. The findings of her research feed into debates about democratic legitimacy, accountability and representation in Europe and the European Union. Her work appears in the European Journal of  political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, European Union Politics, West European Politics, Government and Opposition, Nations and Nationalism, South European Society and Politics, among others. She has authored Far Right Parties and Euroscepticism: Patterns of Opposition (ECPR Press and Rowman & Littlefield 2018) and co-authored The Golden Dawn’s Nationalist Solution: Explaining the rise of the far right in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan 2015).  She is the co-editor of the European Journal of Political Research and the convenor of the ECPR Standing group on Political Parties.


Professor Tony Heron

N8 AgriFood Chair, The University of York

Tony Heron is Professor of International Political Economy and N8 AgriFood Chair at the University of York. His previous books include The Global Political Economy of Trade Protectionism and Liberalisation (Routledge 2012) and Pathways from Preferential Trade (Palgrave 2013). More recently, Tony has published work in Contemporary Politics, European Journal of International Relations, Third World Thematics and Global Policy, among others. Tony’s current work is centered on interdisciplinary global food systems research, sustainability governance in global value chains and the political economy of agriculture in the context of the UK’s exit from the EU. He is a principal/co-investigator on a number of interdisciplinary research projects, including ‘The UK- Latin American Soy Connection’ (N8 Agrifood at York), ‘Promoting Effective Sustainability Governance in Global Supply Chains’ (ESRC IAA), ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food  Systems Resilience’ (UK BBSRC), ‘Immigration and Wellbeing’, (Nuffield Foundation) and ‘CASCADE – Climate Change and Systemic Risks: Adaptive and Resilient Europe’ (EU Horizon 2020) Tony is co- editor of the journal New Political Economy.