Defra’s Sustainable Intensification Platform – revisiting my old postdoc

I was given my first postdoctoral role in November 2014 by Professor William Sutherland and Dr Lynn Dicks at Cambridge, with Lynn adopting the senior author role for most of the resulting publications. Our funding to do empirical work only lasted until November 2015 – as we publish our last paper today, I recap our findings. I’m very proud of the whole team for such a productive year’s worth of outputs:

Here’s the list of five papers:

Rose, D. C.,Sutherland, W. J., et al., Dicks, L. V. (2018). Integrated farm management for sustainable agriculture: lessons for knowledge exchange and policy, Land Use Policy, Full text (OA)

Rose, D. C., Parker, C., Fodey, J., Park, C., Sutherland, W. J., and Dicks, L. V. (2018). Involving stakeholders in agricultural decision support systems: improving user-centred design, International Journal of Agricultural Management 6 (3-4): 80-89, Full text (not OA)Summary blog , Key Figure

Rose, D. C., Morris, C., Lobley, M., Winter, M., Sutherland, W. J., and Dicks, L. V. (2018). Exploring the spatialities of technological and user re-scripting: The case of decision support tools in UK agriculture, Geoforum 89 pp. 11-18, Full Text (Open access)

Rose, D. C., Bruce, T. A. J. (2017) Finding the right connection – what makes a successful decision support system?, Food and Energy Security, Full Text (Open access)

Rose, D. C., Sutherland, W. J., Parker, C., Lobley, M., Winter, M., Morris, C., Twining, S., Ffoulkes, C., Amano, T., Dicks, L. V. (2016) Decision support tools for agriculture: Towards effective design and delivery, Agricultural Systems 149 pp. 165-174 Full Text (Open access)

Plus this one from Lynn’s research on a different work package:

Dicks, L. V., Rose, D. C., Ang, F., Aston, S., Birch, A. N. E., et al. (2018). What agricultural practices are most likely to deliver ‘sustainable intensification’ in the UK?, Food and Energy Security, Full text (OA)

Plus a media article written on our work:

Farmers Guardian/Arable Farming, In support of a better decision,

Take-home messages

Although we had two tasks, one related to decision support system uptake, and the other on integrated farm management practice, there is one common theme. This relates to the importance of involving farmers, advisors, and other stakeholders across the supply chain, in the design of technologies and concepts that ultimately aim to influence practice. Through the user-centred design of technologies, and farm management practices, we can ensure that they are relevant, useful, and practically implementable. For me, this is why it is so great that Defra are actively seeking to co-design new agricultural policies post-Brexit. There are many historical examples of poorly designed technologies and ‘management-speak’ rather than ‘farmer-focused’ policy concepts, and our work gives real impetus to co-design approaches which seek to enable stakeholders to shape research and policy trajectories. I look forward to working with Defra as part of a new ESRC project led by Dr Ruth Little at Sheffield which seeks to understand how agricultural policies can be better ‘co-designed’. I also look forward to developing my research on the social impacts of new technologies on-farm, which are so often forgotten in the rush towards greater productivity.

Do get in contact with me on if you wish to discuss any of this work or if you would like to access any of the papers (though most should be open access).



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