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By John McKain
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Mario Herrero, a leading global expert in sustainable food systems, will join the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and become the university’s second Cornell Atkinson Scholar, effective July 15.
A headshot of Mario Herrero
Mario Herrero

Herrero will be a professor of sustainable food systems and global change in the Department of Global Development, and he has been appointed to a five-year term as a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences.

Herrero currently serves as chief research scientist of agriculture and food at CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization — Australia’s national science agency. His extensive research spans the areas of sustainable agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation, livestock systems, and healthy and sustainable food systems.

His work closely aligns with CALS’ commitment to purpose-driven science, and he joins leading experts in the Department of Global Development, which unites expertise across the sciences to tackle the urgent and complex challenges of our time.

“Mario’s deep commitment to engaged research across multiple disciplines and his focus on real-world impact makes him a natural fit for Global Development,” said Lori Leonard, chair and professor of global development.

“We are thrilled to have him join the department and collaborate with other development practitioners and scholars on innovative solutions to the most pressing global challenges.”

This new appointment is the second faculty hire by the Sustainability Task Force, a cross-college effort led by the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability as part of the provost’s Radical Collaboration initiative. The initiative brings together faculty across the university to spark research and apply bold approaches to critical issues, further investing in Cornell’s research and scholarship.

“The distinction of serving as a Cornell Atkinson Scholar — a five-year term — affords Herrero the opportunity to leverage his strengths at connecting broad institutional efforts and connecting them externally too,” said David Lodge, the Francis J. DiSalvo director of Cornell Atkinson. “His expertise has the immediate potential to build boundary-spanning efforts that bridge sustainability efforts in climate, food, energy and health in ways that lead to long-term impact.”

“What excites me about Cornell is that it combines a Land-Grant mission with a commitment to addressing the world’s most complex challenges,” Herrero said.

“I am truly energized by the extraordinary efforts underway at Cornell to lead science-driven approaches to address the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. This leadership and collaboration are essential to building new approaches to improving human and planetary health.”

Herrero currently serves on the editorial boards of six journals: The Lancet Planetary Health, Agricultural Systems, Global Food Security, Agriculture and Food Security, Tropical Grasslands, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. He has also been a guest editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Herrero is a corresponding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an associate fellow of Chatham House — an international affairs think tank — and an honorary professor of agriculture and food innovation at the University of Queensland, Australia. He has worked extensively in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

John McKain is the director of strategic communications for the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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