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Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Net zero, food and farming; rural economy; British countryside policy and politics; farming and agricultural policy; Common Agricultural Policy; rural environmental controversies; rural and regional development.


Neil Ward is Professor of Rural and Regional Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA).  He was UEA's Deputy Vice Chancellor and PVC-Academic (2013-21). 

Professor Ward began his academic career as a geographer at University College London. His research interests are in rural economic and social change, agriculture, food and environmental policy and regional development. He has held chairs at the University of Leeds and Newcastle University, where he was director of the Centre for Rural Economy from 2004 to 2008. He has also worked for periods on secondment to the Cabinet Office and as an advisor to the Economic and Social Research Council. 

Neil is a co-convenor of UKRI's Network+ on "AgriFood4NetZero" which runs from 2022 to 2025 and is author of Net Zero, Food and Farming: Climate Change and the UK Agri-Food System (Routledge)

Neil was Chair of the Social Science Panel for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Subject Pilot and a member of the TEF Subject Pilot Main Panel (2017-20).  He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or