Professor & Director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research
Michael is a rural policy specialist and a rural social scientist with particular interests in applying inter-disciplinary approaches to policy-relevant research and in direct engagement in the policy process.
Alongside his directorship of the CRPR he is also Director of the Food Security & Land Research Alliance (encompassing the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, Rothamsted Research and Duchy College).
His current research focuses on the governance of sustainable agro-food systems and food security; the historical and contemporary sociology of west country agriculture; & farmer environmental attitudes and decision-making, particularly in the context of diffuse pollution and water quality. He leads Project 2 of Defra’s Sustainable Intensification Research Platform.
He is a Visiting Programme Director in Food Security at Wilton Park (Foreign Office), a member of the governing board of Rothamsted Research, and chairs the Stakeholder Group for the Avon Demonstration Test Catchment. He is a former member of Defra’s Panel of Agricultural & Environmental Economists, the National Ecosystem Assessment Expert Panel, DEFRA’s Science Advisory Council and was a Commissioner for the Commission for Rural Communities from its inception in 2006 until its abolition in 2013. In 2000, he was a member of the Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs in England and Wales chaired by Lord Burns.