Research with a public purpose

Complex problems require complex solutions. 

Our experts collaborate across disciplines to ensure that holistic approaches address deep rooted social inequalities that affect every aspect of human and natural worlds. 

Social & economic development

Engaging with local and international communities to better understand and improve economic, historical, political and social contexts and inequalities.

Environment & development

Promoting environmental sustainability by diving into topics of climate change, natural resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, policy and more. 

Food & agricultural systems

Driving innovation in food, sustainability, plant breeding, crop improvement, production and more. 

Research Spotlight

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

As a global expert on demographics, sociology and development, Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue advises the United Nations and national governments on the relationship between demographics, inequality and development. He is the co-founder of PICHNET, which seeks to transform Africa's largest generation through youth capacity development, research and policy communication in Cameroon. 

Food justice

Rachel Bezner Kerr

Rachel Bezner Kerr's collaborative research program advocates for localized food justice in New York and around the world. She has united communities across Malawi and Tanzania, culminating to a 10,000 member nonprofit, numerous farmer-led training programs and internationally acclaimed expertise in agroecology. 

Environmental Sociology

Jack Zinda

As an environmental sociologist and professor of global development, Jack Zinda analyzes global challenges surrounding relationships between human groups and environments. Zinda makes in-depth explorations of locales across the globe, from rural communities in China to metropolitan areas straddling the Hudson River in New York State. 

Global food security

KV Raman

As an expert in international agriculture and rural development, KV Raman has facilitated over a dozen international collaborative projects, fostered numerous public-private partnerships and led engaged learning opportunities for 1,000+ undergraduate and professional students at both Cornell and other international universities. 

Political ecology

Jenny Goldstein

As a political ecologist, Jenny Goldstein studies the intersection of power dynamics, the environment, and the meaning of place and space. Her research has taken her across Southeast Asia, Africa and the United States to study the role that environmental conservation and development play in terms of governance, data, human health and ecological change. 

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue headshot
Three women hug and smile in a field
Jack Zinda headshot
A group of students and professors stand in front of university in India
Head shot of Jenny E. Goldstein

Polson Institute for Global Development

Research Program Highlights

Explore a few of our faculty's research programs

Parfait Elloundou-Enyegue gives a presentation
Map of New York State
A faculty member conducts fieldwork in a forest.
Thomas Hirschl
Coral underwater
corn plants against the sky

Student Research Spotlight

Learn more about our next-generation leaders who are at the forefront of compelling research in and out of the classroom.

Food & community solidarity

Louise Erskine MPS '21

Louise Erskine MPS ’21 utilizes photography to tell the stories of rural and agricultural communities across Canada, the United States and Mexico. Behind the lens and on the global stage, Louise advocates for the need to build solidarity within and across communities. 

Racism in academia

Ben Fields '20

Inspired by his personal experience as a Black student in the Ivy League, Ben analyzed how racism, micro-aggressions and human behavior contribute to the academic career of Black students. His research is not only an important contribution to academia, but also offers a new perspective on how a sense of belonging and engagement play a critical role in diversity and inclusion on college campuses.

Gender & income inequality

Elena Setiadarma ’21

The intersection between agriculture and technology drove Elena to explore innovative ways to take her passion for issues of gender and income inequality and transform her ideas into reality. “Conducting global research means overcoming language barriers, practicing how to ask thoughtful questions, and presenting and consolidating findings from the field,” Elena said.

Climate change & agriculture

Keelin Kelly ‘20

With a goal to better understand how climate change impacts farmers and agriculture, Keelin travelled to Armenia to speak directly with farmers, hear their experiences and concerns, and find ways to involve them in climate change decision-making. “Making connections with people, sharing resources and knowledge and working together towards a better solution is truly irreplaceable,” Keelin shared.

Louise Erskine looks off into the distance holding a camera
Ben Fields graduation
Headshot of Elena Setiadarma
A woman in a red jacket smiles as she is photographed in front of water

Our Approach is Transdisciplinary

Food Security

Averting hunger in sub-Saharan Africa requires data and synthesis

As COVID-19 disrupts food systems around the world, a pivot to more agile and inclusive data collection and analysis is critical to avert widespread hunger, according to Cornell Global Development experts in a comment piece published Aug. 5 in Nature.

Global health & Nutrition

Children in refugee camps get better health, nutrition via e-vouchers

Research shows that electronic food vouchers provide families more effective ways to purchase a greater range of nutritionally diverse foods, boosting the overall health of children in their development.

Gender

Gender-sensitive farmer training program transforms Kenya’s households

The Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) team analyzes imbalances on farms in sub-Saharan Africa to reveal new ways to increase women’s participation in agriculture. 

Data & machine learning

Project partners researchers, librarians & AI to fight hunger

Climate-resilient crops are at the center of one of Ceres2030’s eight research questions, which seek to identify interventions that will improve the lives of the world’s poorest farmers while preserving the environment. 

Agriculture & food systems

Studying crop establishment to improve harvests and diversify crops

Experts in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) use agro-ecological methods to increase the productivity of rice with African farmers in upstate New York by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. 

Climate Change

Studying solar leasing on farmland in New York to better understand issues

New York state has set ambitious goals to wean its economy off fossil fuels by 2050 while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 85%. To help reach those goals, researchers in Global Development are studying ways the state’s mix of sun and farmland will factor into plans.

Plant Science

NextGen Cassava research accelerates cassava breeding worldwide

“A complete understanding of cassava’s genetic architecture is the critical step needed to accelerating genetic improvement and bring lasting benefits to farmers and consumers who depend on this crop for food and income throughout the world,” said Chiedozie Egesi.

Economics

Researchers develop market for East Coast broccoli

New research demonstrates that the way in which you communicate where products were grown has an impact on consumer habits

Wheat growing in a field
Tents housing children at a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Farmers stand outside their house
A man walking through a field of wheat with a stick slung over his shoulder carrying several bags
A man working in a rice field on a sunny day.
Dryden solar farm
A man walks through a cassava field
Miguel Gomez draws on a whiteboard.

Leading innovative action in Global Development

Our experts span diverse disciplines and harness multidisciplinary thinking to drive real-world impact.

Maricelis Acevedo
Maricelis Acevedo

Research Professor

Department of Global Development

Co-director of MPS in Global Development

Department of Global Development

International Research Professor (Joint)

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

Maricelis Acevedo
Sarah Alexander headshot
Sarah Alexander

Visiting Fellow

Department of Global Development

Sarah Alexander
  • sma53 [at] cornell.edu
Environmental sociology
Environmental justice
Water
Shorna Allred
Shorna Allred

Professor

Natural Resources and the Environment

Professor

Department of Global Development

Shorna Allred
Conservation social science
Environmental justice
Southeast Asia
Chris Barrett
Chris Barrett

Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Professor

Department of Global Development

Chris Barrett
Agricultural economics
Development economics
Food security
Alaka Basu headshot
Alaka Basu

Professor

Department of Global Development

Alaka Basu
Population and development
Gender and development
Culture and demography
Rachel Bezner Kerr
Rachel Bezner Kerr

Professor

Department of Global Development

Rachel Bezner Kerr
Agroecology
Food And Agriculture
Gender
Robin Blakely-Armitage
Robin Blakely-Armitage

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Department Extension Lead

Department of Global Development

Robin Blakely-Armitage
Community And Regional Development
Community Resilience And Disaster Risk
Demographic Trends
Kathryn Boor Headshot
Kathryn Boor

Professor

Food Science

Professor

Department of Global Development

Kathryn Boor
A man stands on a balcony overlooking a city
David Brown

International Professor, Emeritus

Department of Global Development

David Brown
Rural demography
Political economy
Spacial inequality
Allison Chatrchyan
Allison Chatrchyan

Senior Research Associate

Department of Global Development

Senior Research Associate

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Allison Chatrchyan
Ronnie Coffman
Ronnie Coffman

International Professor of Global Development

Department of Global Development

Director of International Programs

Department of Global Development

International Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Ronnie Coffman
International agriculture & development
Crop improvement
Agricultural biotechnology
Eric Danquah
Eric Danquah

Visiting Scientist

Department of Global Development

Eric Danquah
  • edanquah [at] wacci.ug.edu.gh
Genetic diversity
Biotechnologies in crop improvement
Farmers’ knowledge and plant breeding
Mary Jo Dudley
Mary Jo Dudley

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Director, Cornell Farmworker Program

Department of Global Development

Mary Jo Dudley
Agricultural Labor
Immigrant Workers & Communities
Farmworkers
Chiedozie Egesi
Chiedozie Egesi

Adjunct Professor

Department of Global Development

Adjunct Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Project Director, Nextgen Cassava

Department of Global Development

Chiedozie Egesi
Biotechnology tools for the genetic improvement of cassava
Gender responsive agricultural research
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

Professor

Department of Global Development

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Education, Development and Inequality
Population and Development
Sociological Research Methods
Julie Ficarra headshot
Julie Ficarra

Associate Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Julie Ficarra
  • jmf389 [at] cornell.edu
International Education & Engaged Learning
Partnership Development
Critical Pedagogy
Julia Finkelstein
Julia Finkelstein

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Associate Professor

Nutritional Sciences

Julia Finkelstein
Epidemiology
Nutrition
Randomized clinical trials, cohort studies & surveillance programs
Lucy Fisher
Lucy Fisher

Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Associate Director of Communications - SRI International Network and Resource Center

Department of Global Development

Lucy Fisher
Joe Francis

Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Joe Francis
Star Yanxin Gao
Star Yanxin Gao

Research Associate

School of Integrative Plant Science

Star Yanxin Gao
  • yg28 [at] cornell.edu
Public and private engagement and partnership
Emerging technology deployment and adoption
Business decision modeling and customer centric leadership
Elisabeth Garner
Elisabeth Garner

Gender and Agriculture Postdoctoral Associate

Department of Global Development

Elisabeth Garner
  • eg65 [at] cornell.edu
Sarah GIroux
Sarah Giroux

Associate Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Department of Global Development

Sarah Giroux
Decompositional Methods
Demography of Inequality and Poverty
Empirics Of Development and Inequality
Jenny Goldstein
Jenny Goldstein

Assistant Professor

Department of Global Development

Jenny Goldstein
  • goldstein [at] cornell.edu
Political ecology
Digital geography
Southeast Asia
Miguel Gomez
Miguel Gomez

Robert G. Tobin Professor

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Professor

Department of Global Development

Miguel Gomez
Food and agricultural economics
Food marketing and distribution
Food value chains and sustainability
Peter Gregory
Peter Gregory

Director, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship

Department of Global Development

Adjunct Professor

Department of Global Development

Peter Gregory
Global Agriculture and Development
Agricultural Biotechnology
Mario Herrero
Mario Herrero

Professor; Cornell Atkinson Scholar; Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences

Department of Global Development

Mario Herrero
  • mario.herrero [at] cornell.edu
Climate mitigation and adaption
Agri-food and livestock systems
Sustainability and environmental analyses
Thomas Hirschl
Thomas Hirschl

Professor

Department of Global Development

Thomas Hirschl
Demography, Social Stratification, Ideology
Poverty, Social Policy, Community Action
Youth Development, Social Behavior
John Hoddinott
John Hoddinott

H.E. Babcock Professor of Food and Nutrition Economics and Policy

Nutritional Sciences (CALS)

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

John Hoddinott
Economics
Nutrition
Food security
Paula Horrigan

Emeritus; Director of Rust2Green

Department of Global Development

Paula Horrigan
Md. Arif Hossain
Md. Arif Hossain

Visiting Fellow

Department of Global Development

Md. Arif Hossain
  • mdarif.hossain [at] cornell.edu
Strategic planning
Sustainable agriculture
Global development policy
Ben Houlton Headshot
Benjamin Houlton

Ronald P. Lynch Dean

Office of the Dean

Professor

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Professor

Department of Global Development

Benjamin Houlton
  • bzhoulton [at] cornell.edu
Global ecosystem processes
Climate change solutions
Agricultural sustainability
David Kay
David Kay

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

David Kay
Community & Economic Development
Community, Energy Transitions & Climate Change
Governance & Conflict Resolution
Headshot of Ndunge Kiiti
Ndunge Kiiti

Adjunct Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Ndunge Kiiti
  • nk26 [at] cornell.edu
Communication
Health & international/community development
Public health
David Lee
David R. Lee

Professor

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Professor

Department of Global Development

David R. Lee
Applied Economics and Policy
Emerging Markets and Development
Johannes Lehmann
Johannes Lehmann

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor

Department of Global Development

Johannes Lehmann
Soil biogeochemistry, fertility management, organic matter, and carbon and nutrient cycling from wastes
Soil carbon sequestration and biochar systems
Sustainable agriculture in the tropics
Lori Leonard
Lori Leonard

Professor

Department of Global Development

Chair

Department of Global Development

Lori Leonard
Gender
Waste & garbage
Ethnography
Headshot of David Little
David Little

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Executive Director, Rural Schools Association

Department of Global Development

David Little
Ed Mabaya
Ed Mabaya

Research Professor

Department of Global Development

Ed Mabaya
Applied Economics and Policy
Food and Agricultural Economics
International and Development Economics and Policy
Fouad Makki
Fouad Makki

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development

Department of Global Development

Fouad Makki
Uneven and Combined Development
Nature and Modernity
State Formation and Development
Andy McDonald
Andrew McDonald

Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Andrew McDonald
  • ajm9 [at] cornell.edu
Cropping systems ecology
Agricultural sustainability, food security, water resources and climate
International agriculture, policy, and applied social sciences
Philip McMichael
Philip McMichael

Professor Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Philip McMichael
  • pdm1 [at] cornell.edu
Food regimes
Food sovereignty
Agrarian questions
Saurabh Mehta
Saurabh Mehta

Janet and Gordon Lankton Professor

Nutritional Sciences (CHE)

Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Saurabh Mehta
  • sm939 [at] cornell.edu
Global health
Epidemiology
Nutrition
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Education Minor Coordinator

Department of Global Development

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Community development
Civic engagement
Engaged learning and research
Rebecca Nelson
Rebecca Nelson

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Professor

Department of Global Development

Rebecca Nelson
Genetics of quantitative disease resistance in plants
International agriculture and rural development
Mycotoxin management
Andrew Ofstehage
Andrew Ofstehage

Postdoctoral Associate

Department of Global Development

Andrew Ofstehage
Tess Pendergrast
Tess Pendergrast

Lecturer

Department of Global Development

Tess Pendergrast
  • tlp59 [at] cornell.edu
Inequality studies
Sociology of public health and environmental justice
Engaged education
Jeffrey Perry
Jeffrey Perry

Senior Lecturer

Department of Global Development

Jeffrey Perry
Extension Education
Teaching Methods
Youth Leadership Development
Scott Peters
Scott Peters

Professor

Department of Global Development

Scott Peters
Political theory & public philosophy
Community organizing & development
Oral history
Max Pfeffer stands in a library to have his portrait taken
Max Pfeffer

Professor Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Max Pfeffer
  • mjp5 [at] cornell.edu
Agricultural Labor
Community Development
International Migration
Prabhu Pingali
Prabhu Pingali

Professor

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Professor

Department of Global Development

Professor

Nutritional Sciences

Prabhu Pingali
Food and Nutrition Policy
International Agricultural Development
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Jaron Porciello
Jaron Porciello

Associate Director for Research Data Engagement

Department of Global Development

Jaron Porciello
Digital agriculture
Data analytics
Meta science, evidence-based policy, and building partnerships
Marvin Pritts
Marvin Pritts

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Plant Sciences Major

School of Integrative Plant Science

Horticulture Section

Professor

Department of Global Development

Marvin Pritts
Berry crops
Season extension
Sustainable production practices
KV Raman
Kandukuri Raman

Research Professor

Department of Global Development

Associate Director, Special Projects in International Programs

Department of Global Development

International Research Professor (Joint)

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Kandukuri Raman
International agriculture and rural development
Value-added marketing
Agricultural biotechnology, Integrated Pest Management and technology transfer
Annalisa Raymer
Annalisa Raymer

Senior Lecturer

Department of Global Development

Director of Community Learning and Service Partnership (CLASP)

Department of Global Development

Annalisa Raymer
Ecosystem of learning
Education and development
Learning cities
Gretchen Rymarchyk
Gretchen Rymarchyk

Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Gretchen Rymarchyk
Education Policy
Public Education
Rural Schools
John Sipple
John Sipple

Professor

Department of Global Development

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Global Development

John Sipple
Pk-12 education
Sociology of communities
Policy
Headshot of Margaret Smith
Margaret Smith

Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Department of Global Development

Margaret Smith
Maize breeding and genomics
Abiotic stress tolerance
Insect and disease resistance
Erika Styger
Erika Styger

Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Associate Director of the Climate-Resilient Farming Systems Program

Department of Global Development

Erika Styger
  • eds8 [at] cornell.edu
System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM)
Agrobiodiversity management and agroforestry
Christina Tonitto
Christina Tonitto

Research Associate

Department of Global Development

Christina Tonitto
  • ctonitto [at] cornell.edu
Ecosystem ecology
Biogeochemical modeling
Agricultural and forest management
terry tucker
Terry Tucker

Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Co-director of MPS in Global Development

Department of Global Development

Terry Tucker
International agriculture & rural development
Participatory research & extension
Higher education & development
Hale Ann Tufan
Hale Ann Tufan

Research Professor

Department of Global Development

International Research Professor (Joint)

School of Integrative Plant Science

Plant Breeding and Genetics Section

Project Director: GREAT, AWARE, NextGen Cassava, and Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement

Department of Global Development

Hale Ann Tufan
Lawrence Van De Valk
Lawrence Van De Valk

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Executive Director, Lead NY

Department of Global Development

Lawrence Van De Valk
Mildred Warner
Mildred Warner

Professor

Department of Global Development

Mildred Warner
Lindy Williams
Lindy Williams

Professor Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Lindy Williams
Migration
Family Formation
Aging
Wendy Wolford
Wendy Wolford

Vice Provost for International Affairs; Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor

Department of Global Development

Wendy Wolford
International development
Land use & distribution
Social mobilization & agrarian societies
Connie Yuan
Y. Connie Yuan

Professor

Department of Communication

Professor

Department of Global Development

Y. Connie Yuan
Organizational communication
Intercultural communication
Knowledge management
Xue Zhang
Xue Zhang

Postdoctoral Associate

Department of Global Development

Xue Zhang
  • xz435 [at] cornell.edu
Regional economics and equity
Community development policy
Public health
John Zinda
John Zinda

Assistant Professor

Department of Global Development

John Zinda
Environmental sociology
Agriculture and rural livelihoods
China