The working group is made up policy experts and food systems academics working across multiple disciplines throughout the N8 Universities. Together with the Operational Team, the Working Group sets the agenda for activities and outputs from the Food Systems Policy Hub.

  • James Coe

    Senior Policy Advisor, The University of Liverpool


    James is Senior Policy Advisor at the University of Liverpool. There he provides political, policy, and strategic advice to the Vice Chancellor and her senior team. In addition, James supports projects across the University ranging from sustainable development to civic engagement.

    James joined the University of Liverpool from the National Union of Students where he worked on organisational reform, governance, events, speeches, and political advice. He previously worked for the Community Transport Association where he led their policy work to increase the availability of accessible transport.

    James holds a BA in English from the University of Liverpool and he is currently studying for a MPA at the University of York.

  • Professor Mike Crang

    Professor of Cultural Geography, Durham University


    Mike Crang is a cultural geographer by background, with long standing interests in heritage, local and regional cultures and identities. He is currently leading a work package on Southern China in the ESRC funded project ‘Sustainable Consumption, the Middle Classes and Agrifood Ethics in the Global South’. The project is looking at growing global consumption in the ‘BRICS’, and also involves work on Brazil and South Africa, and asks whether the forms of ethical and pro-environmental consumption, and consumer pressure, that we look to in the West will have traction in these new consumer markets. It explores the differing food heritages and values through interviews with corporate and regulatory actors, surveys of consumers and ethnographic go-along shopping and co-cooking sessions.

    Previously Mike has attended to supply chains and logistics, especially ones that operate illicitly or in grey zones, examining the weaknesses and gaps that create opportunities for ‘moral arbitrage’ including in agrifood supplies, and thus the presence of illicit actors and commercially motivated food fraud. He has also worked extensively on waste, recycling and the circular economy – including the role of agrifood waste in bio-energy.

  • Professor Jason Halford

    Head of the School of Psychology, University of Leeds


    Jason Halford is Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds, President Elect of the European Association of Obesity (EASO), and former Chair of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO). He is a Chartered Health Psychologist.

    Over the past 10 years his research has focused on drug-induced weight gain, the effects of nutrients and fibre on appetite and hormone release, the effects of stress on eating behaviour, the effect of marketing on children, and on lean obese differences in the expression of appetite. In 1999, Jason co-founded the Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory at Liverpool and in 2004 he also co founded the Liverpool Obesity Research Network (LORN). Jason is co-ordinator of the SWITCH study, a new trial to examine the impact of artificial sweeteners on appetite in the context of active weight management and is one of the co-ordinating leads for the 9m Euro H2020 SWEET project designed to examine the risks and benefits of using sweeteners to replace sugar in the diet in the contexts of health, obesity, safety and sustainability. Jason is also local lead for iKnowFood.

  • Professor Tony Heron

    Professor in International Political Economy, University of York


    Tony Heron is Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of Politics and a Co Investigator of the IKnowFood project.

    Tony’s main research and teaching interests relate to the political economy of trade and development, most recently with a specific interest in the global food system.

    His current research work focuses on ideas of resilience in global food systems; the political economy of agricultural reform in the UK in the context of Brexit; the governance of global value chains; private standards in the Brazilian soybean sector; and food security in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

    Visit Tony’s profile on the Department of Politics website.

    Visit Tony Heron’s profile on the York Research Database to see publications, projects, collaborators, related work and more.

    Tony is a Parliamentary Academic Fellow for the House of Commons International Trade Committee.

  • Dr Chris Hewson

    Social Sciences Research Impact Manager, University of York


    Chris studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge, and took his PhD in Sociology at Lancaster University which examined the development of community radio and television services in the face of social and regulatory change. Chris first joined the University of York in March 2017, and has previously worked in impact support roles at the Universities of Manchester, Salford and Sheffield. Chris provides expert assistance to York’s social sciences departments regarding all aspects of research impact, knowledge exchange and business engagement, including but not limited to funding and the REF. In addition, he also manages the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Account (the York ESRC IAA), and the York Policy Engine. He is always keen to hear from organisations and groups interested in collaborating with the University’s social science researchers.

  • Juliet Jopson

    Policy Project Officer, University of Leeds


    In her role as Policy Officer for Policy Leeds, Juliet coordinates institutional responses to requests from policy professionals, such as calls for expertise.

    She works to disseminate information on opportunities for and routes to policy engagement via the Engaged Research team at the University of Leeds, and supports meetings and events bringing together research and policy communities.

    Juliet helps with promoting policy-relevant research and policy engagement activities, providing support developing policy briefs and blogs. She is the University of Leeds contact for the University Policy Engagement Network (UPEN).

  • Dr Bernadette Moore


    Dr. J. Bernadette Moore is Associate Professor of Obesity and leads the 15 academics in the Nutritional Sciences & Epidemiology Research Group within the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds. To date, she has raised over 1.7 million pounds in research funding and been supported by the: BBSRC, EPSRC, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, and the Universities of Surrey and Leeds.  She has published >30 peer-reviewed papers, was the recipient of the 2018 Nutrition Society Silver Medal for Research Excellence in a Young Investigator, and her recent work on the high sugar content of yogurts received significant international media interest, notably in the top 1% of >13 million Altmetric tracked publications.

  • Dr Chris Peters

    Policy@Mancheser Communications and Engagement Manager, University of Manchester


    Chris is the Communications & Engagement Manager at Policy@Manchester at the University of Manchester. Prior to this Chris worked at the charity Sense about Science where we worked on the Plant Science Panel and campaigns for libel reform, clinical trials transparency and evidence-based policymaking.

  • Professor Mariana Rufino

    Professor of Agricultural Systems, Lancaster University


  • Professor Fiona Smith

    Professor in International Economic Law, University of Leeds


    Fiona Smith  joined the Law School at the University of Leeds in 2017 having previously held positions at University of Warwick and UCL. She has been a Visiting Professor at several law schools in the USA, including University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and Boston College Law School. Her research focuses on international trade law in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with a specialist interest in international agricultural trade. Professor Smith has published widely on international agricultural trade and has spoken about her research to public and private sector audiences throughout the world. In 2017, she was appointed Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee for its Report on BREXIT and Agriculture, and in 2021 was appointed Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons International Trade Committee. She has given evidence on the impact of Brexit on agricultural trade to the House of Commons’ International Trade Committee and the Welsh National Assembly, External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee. Professor Smith was an invited expert for the European Commission, [DG DSANCO], Working Group on EU Food Safety in Nutrition in 2050; the joint DEFRA/UK Treasury,Balance of Competence Review: Agriculture evaluating the relationship between the EU and the UK; and to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Farmers’ Scientist Network advising on the Implications of Brexit for Agriculture in the UK. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Economic Law and serves as the journal’s European Book Review Editor.