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Dr. Laura Pereira
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 506 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-0426
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science
Laura Pereira is a Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program and Gundle South African Public Service Fellow. She uses complex adaptive systems theory to identify areas of adaptive capacity in the food system to climate change and other drivers of global environmental change. Her work has a developing country focus and she has conducted research in South Africa, Mozambique and Brazil. Laura is collaborating with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development where her host is Prof William Clark. Her project seeks to explore incentives for innovation within the food system in order to achieve food security goals under the added pressure of climate change and her research will be based in Brazil and South Africa. She has a BSc (Hons) with distinction in Ecology and Environmental Science from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa (2007) and received an Master of Science in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford (2008) with the support of an overseas postgraduate merit award from the University of the Witwatersrand. For her DPhil studies at the University of Oxford, she was the recipient of an Oppenheimer Memorial Grant, a Clarendon Scholarship and a Commonwealth Scholarship. Her DPhil thesis is entitled ‘Private sector adaptive capacity to climate change impacts in the food system: Food security implications for southern Africa and Latin America’ and she is expecting to have her viva in June 2012. Her faculty hosts are William Clark and Calestous Juma.
Drivers of innovation in the food system faced with climate change
Since the 2007-08 food price crises that left millions hungry, food security has been high on the research agenda. Given the threat that climate change poses to achieving food security in large parts of the developing world, incentives for innovation in this sector will be key to building adaptive capacity in the food system. Using a socio-ecological systems approach, this project aims to use both quantitative and qualitative data in order to understand how the private sector can be incentivized to develop public goods in the food system that can address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people given a changing climate. Although the project will be focused on Brazil and South Africa, the aim is to be able to draw conclusions that can be applied to the wider food system.