Chatham House appoints Tim Benton as Research Director for Environment and Society Programme

Chatham House is pleased to announce that Professor Tim Benton has been appointed as research director of the Environment and Society Programme.

News release Published 30 May 2019 Updated 18 August 2021 2 minute READ

He brings substantial expertise on food systems and environmental change to the role and will focus on establishing new initiatives at the intersection of research and policymaking.

Tim was appointed as a distinguished visiting fellow of Chatham House in the Environment and Society Programme in 2016. He has since contributed to the institute in a number of ways, not least through leading the GCRF-AFRICAP project which aims to enhance policy making in Sub-Saharan Africa, through building climate-smart food systems.

Tim’s research focuses on food security and building food systems that are resilient and sustainable, working within the broader areas of ecology, natural resources and climate change impacts. He has published over 150 academic papers, most tackling the core themes of agriculture’s environmental impact and more generally how systems respond to environmental change. He is a lead author of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on climate change and land. He is also coordinating lead author on international risks for the UK’s Climate Change Risk Assessment, which draws on his broader interests in sustainable finance, trade and energy. He has advised other governments as well as global companies on related issues.

Tim joins Chatham House in his new capacity from the University of Leeds where he is dean of strategic research initiatives. Prior to this, from 2011 to 2016, Tim was the champion of the UK’s Global Food Security programme, a large multi-agency partnership of the UK’s public bodies involved in addressing challenges around food. He has also been research dean in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, and head of department, at Leeds.

Dr Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, said: ‘Tim’s wealth of experience will be especially valuable as we build up our interdisciplinary Chatham House research theme of promoting sustainable growth. We look forward to welcoming Tim to his new role in early July.’

Tim Benton said: ‘I am honoured to be joining Chatham House as Research Director for Environment and Society Programme. Chatham House has a global reputation in these areas, on which we can build. Informed analysis, combined with effective action to transition towards sustainable economies, is needed now, more than ever.’

About the Environment and Society Programme

The Environment and Society Programme at Chatham House seeks to advance the international debate on energy, environment and development policy and to influence and enable decision-makers – governments, NGOs and business – to take well-informed decisions that contribute to achieving sustainable development. Independent of any actor or ideology, we do this by carrying out innovative research on major policy challenges, bringing together diverse perspectives and constituencies and injecting new ideas into the international arena.

Tim Benton takes over the role from Rob Bailey who has joined Marsh & McLennan Insights as Director, Climate Resilience.