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Nitya Rao


NISD Director

University of East Anglia

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Nitya oversees the strategic direction of NISD and takes a lead in representing our research and institute externally.

As Professor in Gender and Development, Nitya brings deep experience and understanding of farmer livelihoods, in contexts of climate variability, economic precarity and social inequality.

Driven by a commitment to social and gender justice, her work has a strong focus on the impacts of change and innovations on improving wellbeing of people, especially ensuring food and nutrition security.

At present, Nitya is a member of the Steering Group of the High Level Panel of Experts to the Committee on Global Food Security, with oversight for the 16th HLPE Report on youth engagement.

Nitya is also a member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the Global Challenges Research Fund of the UK Government, engaging in policy discussions on the direction of UK aid for research and innovation in the current pandemic year, but looking into the future.

Current Research Projects

  • PI, British Academy GCRF funded ‘Urban and peri-urban agriculture as green infrastructure: Implications on wellbeing and sustainability in the global South (Nov 2019-May 2022).
  • Co-I, GCRF Global Research Translation Award on ‘Sustainable Food Systems’ as part of larger UEA grant entitled ‘Meeting the SDGs: Creating Innovative Infrastructures and Policy Solutions to Support Sustainable Development in the Global South’ (Oct 2019-December 2021).
  • Co-I on GCRF-funded Tigr2ess: Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable Food Supplies (2017-2021). Nitya’s involvement relates to mapping ‘Sustainable and Transformative Agrarian and Rural Trajectories’ to highlight the diversity and complexity in Indian agricultural scenarios, and ‘Food, Nutrition, Education and Empowerment’, with a view to change at the community level.
  • Co-I on a Europe-India Partnership (EQUIP) (2019-2022) grant on the theme of ‘Coastal Transformations and Fisher Wellbeing’. Led by the Madras Institute of Development Studies, India, the consortium includes partners from India, Norway, France and Slovenia, apart from the UK. It builds on institutional links and hopes to carry forward research and dissemination contributing to transformative change at both community and policy level

Recent publications


Areas of expertise


Health and disease

Literacy and development

Migration and wellbeing