William de Grunne
William de Grunne

In October 2018, the CCRI welcomed William de Grunne, who came to work with the CCRI as part of the EU Horizon 2020 SURE-Farm project, which aims to build on concepts of resilience thinking and develop a comprehensive framework to identify the conditions that enable farming systems to become and remain resilient to a broad range of current and imminent stressors.

William is using his research for the SURE-Farm project for his Master’s thesis and he will be with the CCRI until the 20th of December, 2018. He will be focussing on the FoPIA-SURE Farm workshop (Framework of Participatory Impact Assessment workshop) in the UK and will be analysing its results

William is from the rural East of Belgium, where his family run a farm. He completed a BSc in Plant Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands with a thesis entitled “Greenhouse gas emission calculators as tools for mitigation?” The thesis was completed in collaboration with the research institute, Plant Research International (PRI) and the Department of Plant Production Systems (PPS).

William has also worked for a European NGO, the European Landowners’ Organization, which represents land-owners, farmers and rural entrepreneurs at the EU Commission and Parliament.

William can be contacted via email on wdegrunne@glos.ac.uk


Dr Bárbara Soriano and Dr Vera Ventura worked with the CCRI during the summer of 2018.

Dr Bárbara Soriano is a post-doctoral researcher at the Research Center for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks (CEIGRAM)-Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain. She is an applied economist using empirical and quantitative methods, with experience in macroeconomic analysis in economic development and global food security. Bárbara is involved in SURE-Farm, a H2020 research project focusing on enhancing the resilience of European farming systems, alongside CCRI researchers Dr Mauro Vigani, Dr Julie Urquhart, Professor Damian Maye, Dr Rob Berry and Professor Paul Courtney. She is visiting CCRI for three months to work on the qualitative analysis of farmers’ learning capacity interviews, from the Spanish case study, a task led by Dr Julie Urquhart.

CCRI’s Damian Maye, Julie Urquhart and Mauro Vigani with Bárbara-Soriano (who is 2nd from the right)

Dr. Vera Ventura visited the CCRI on 16th – 27th July 2018 to work with Dr. Mauro Vigani on the economics of New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBT). NPBT are innovative crop breeding methods allowing the development of new plant varieties with desired traits. The aim of the project is to analyse the current international scenario of regulatory approaches towards NPBT and its relationships with technology production and adoption. The visit of Dr. Ventura is part of the activities of the Cost Action CA15223 “iPlanta: Modifying Plants To Produce Interfering Rna”. Cost Action grants Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) aimed to strength the scientific objectives of the Cost Action, by supporting inter-lab exchange visits of young scientists in/between COST countries.


Alberto Serra, a MSc student in Wageningen University’s rural sociology department, is visiting the CCRI in February 2018. The CCRI is providing support to Alberto in his UK fieldwork and, as part of this, Alberto is presenting ‘(Dis)assembling Alternative Food Networks in Sheffield, UK’ as part of the CCRI Seminar Series, where he will be able to receive critical feedback from experienced CCRI researchers.


Joo-In Seong, from the Korea Rural Economic Institute, came to the CCRI in December 2016 to spend a sabbatical year as a visiting researcher.

South Korea is quite small – larger than Wales but smaller than England – and there is quite a high population density overall (50 million). But most people live in the city (Seoul) and the rural areas are in decline with an ageing population, declining economic and ecological situations and social fabric weakening. Some urban people are beginning to counter-migrate back to the rural areas, but the quality of life issues are a real challenge.

Joo-In’s interest is in understanding how to protect, build and enhance the quality of life in rural areas, learning from experience in the UK, which could be relevant to challenges faced in rural areas of South Korea. He holds a PhD in Urban & Regional Planning) from the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University.


(From left to right) Jane Hart, Shogo Kudo, Yoshitaka Kumagai, Brian Wilson, Janet Dwyer, Yoshitaka Ohara, and John Powell

Dr Shogo Kudo, Yoshitaka Ohara and Professor Yoshitaka Kumagai, from the AkitaAgeLab in Japan, visited the CCRI on 8th March, 2017, and gave a short presentation to demonstrate a project which is addressing ageing society challenges in rural Japan.

The three visitors are core members of AkitaAgeLab, established in 2016 and based in the Akita Prefecture in the northern part of Japan. The Lab aims to create community designs for the ageing society through social experiments and through collaboration with social entrepreneurs and local government.

They were visiting the UK, looking for foreign partners to explore the rural challenges of ageing. Their presentation focused on the rapidly ageing populations in Japan and suggested that an approach which focused on new social design was important. They perceive that the challenge of an ageing society is not limited to the well-being of older residents. Instead, it is more about fostering social transitions to a more inclusive society in which intergenerational relationship is ensured.


Luca Lazzarini

Luca Lazzarini, a PhD student in Urban and Regional Development at the Inter-university Department of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning (DIST) at Politecnico di Torino, Italy, is visiting the CCRI from 13th February to 31st July 2017.

Luca’s main research interest relates to inter-institutional cooperation and governance processes at the local level in the field of urban and peri-urban agriculture development. Whilst staying in the CCRI, he is giving a presentation as part of the CCRI Seminar Series “For rural space. A scenario-based approach for re-addressing planning practice”.




Dan Marsh


Dan Marsh, an environmental economist based at the University of Waikato, came to the UK in 2016 for a research sabbatical and to work on the PEGASUS project, specifically helping on the in-depth study of the Water and Integrated Local Delivery (WILD) project.  For this he used a Social Return on Investment methodology.

During his stay, Dan gave a presentation to the CCRI Seminar series entitled “Natural Capital and Environmental Decision Making”.




Javi Serrano Lara

Javi Serrano from the Institute of Local Development, University of Valencia, Spain, visited the CCRI for 4 months from September 2016.

Whilst in the CCRI, Javi worked on his PhD, which examines social capital in rural areas using social network analysis, and will be working on a case study of a LEADER group in England.  Javi is also interested in resilience and social innovation theory and he presented a seminar about his work as part of the CCRI Seminar Series “Loss and destruction of social capital and social networks in Spanish rural areas as consequences of the NOT LEADER philosophy”.

Damian Maye provided assistance and guidance to Javi during his stay.



Camille Glasson
Camille Glasson

Camille Glasson, a French student from AgroSup Dijon, came to the CCRI for three months in June 2016 to work on the EU funded PEGASUS project.

PEGASUS aims to identify and understand the relationships between key groups of socio-political, economic and institutional factors considered crucial for influencing the levels of provision and appreciation of environmental and social benefits in different EU contexts. There are around 30 case studies looking at different farming and forest systems as well as supply chains.

Camille is working on the WILD river basin management initiative, which is one of the four case studies that the CCRI is responsible for under the project.

Camille’s principal research interests include the environment (especially water management) and agriculture. She is studying at AgroSup in Dijon, which was one of the first public “Grands Établissements” for the training of engineers in the fields of agronomy and agri-food in France. It is part of the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry where Camlle plans to work after her graduation.



Marco Della Gala

Marco Della Gala – June 2016

Marco Della Gala arrived in the CCRI from the University of Calabria on 1 June 2016. He will be with the CCRI for 20 months working on a ‘training-through-research project’ funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions – individual fellowship (call 2015).

The project is called called SOFIA, through which Marco will be working towards creating ICT based tools, in particular mobile applications, to help people access local food, a topic very close to the heart of the CCRI.

As the use of mobile devices continues to grow, mobile applications have become an incredibly effective way of providing information and resources to a wide audience. Through a multi-case study analysis of local food systems and rural areas and a web review of ICT tools for Alternative Agro­ Food Networks (AAFNs), Marco will be aiming to create, design and develop a mobile application to support the context awareness and information/knowledge exchange among farmers and consumers adhering to AAFNs. Moreover, it will endeavor to create innovative, facilitatory and safe cooperative communication environments and to foster intellectual, social and relational capital flows among AAFNs’ partners.

Marco’s background is in management engineering, in which he graduated from the University of Calabria, Italy, in 2004. He also gained a Masters in knowledge engineering in 2006. Since then, he has collaborated with companies in the ICT and agro-food sectors carrying out processes and functionalities analysis, designing informative systems and databases, and designing and developing mobile applications. His latest research interests lie in mobile technologies and AAFNs, by studying the impact of mobile applications and mobiquitous services in augmenting learning opportunities for actors engaged in AAFN.

Marco is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Calabria. His research project is titled “Business models and ICT services to support the development of agro-food and touristic sustainable local systems”.

Marco will be working with Matt Reed, James Kirwan and Rob Berry, providing a platform for sharing valuable knowledge and expertise.


Morten Clemetsen, an educated Landscape Architect from the University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway, visited the CCRI in the spring of 2016. Morten, who holds a PhD in Landscape Planning, has practiced as a consultant in the field of rural landscape management, landscape assessments and local community development. Associate professor at the University of Life Sciences from 2002, he is currently responsible for teaching and research on strategic landscape scale planning.

During his stay in the CCRI he met with a number of professionals across the UK who are assessing mechanisms for implementing an integrated landscape management approach.  Morten also presented a seminar in the CCRI’s programme with the title ‘Current trends in integrated landscape protection, planning and management in Norway’. The seminar covered two different trends for landscape management, nature based value creation and community development, that have evolved in Norway over the past 10 years; a) reshaping of traditional practice for nature conservation and landscape management in National Parks.


December 2015 – Researchers from the Institute of Agriculture Economics and Information and the Department of Rural Development in the Czech Republic

In December 2015, the CCRI welcomed researchers from the Institute of Agriculture Economics and Information and the Department of Rural Development in the Czech Republic.

The Institute of Agriculture Economics and Information is involved in a variety of research projects, though the main focus of this particular visit to the UK was to examine the UK LEADER experience in order to help them develop and improve their own LEADER approach in the Czech Republic. The Institute is also part of the PEGASUS consortium, an EU project which is investigating the provision of public goods and ecosystem services from agriculture and forestry, for which the CCRI is one of 14 pan-European partners.

As well as the CCRI, the three Czech researchers – Marie Trantinová, Marta Mrnuštík- Konečná and Jiří Hrabák – also visited some LAGs (Local Action Groups) who are responsible for delivering the LEADER community-led delivery of Rural Development Plan grants in England. LEADER works on the theory that local people have a better knowledge of local challenges that need to be addressed and of the resources and opportunities available.


Victor Ortiz
Victor Ortiz

November 2015

Victor Ortiz-Rivera, Research Assistant at the Social Research Institute of the same University, visted the CCRI for two weeks. Victor is involved in helping to organize and deliver the Spanish version of a series of online short courses focusing on different aspects of commons: their management, governance and sustainability. The courses are being delivered jointly by the CCRI and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in both English and Spanish, under the auspices of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).

The courses, which were launched earlier this year, are delivered by allowing students access to a Moodle site, which holds a range of materials (readings, video and audio pods, exercises) and provide discussion-forum space for online learning. Whilst he was here, Victor undertook some Moodle training and distance learning delivery training in connection with these short courses.


March 2015 – Visiting Students from France

In 2015, the CCRI hosted three students from France. Mathilde Archambault and Thomas Gilbert, both from Agro-Paris Tech, worked on a project based in Exmoor under the supervision of Professor Janet Dwyer.

Magali Jonas, from AgroSup, Dijon, worked under the supervision of Dr John Powell and Dr Peter Gaskell.


Yumiko Yamamoto (on the right) with Kate Ashbrook of Open Spaces Society
Yumiko Yamamoto (R) with Kate Ashbrook of Open Spaces Society

October 2014 – Yumiko Yamamoto, Japan

In October 2014, the CCRI welcomed Yumiko Yamamoto, a Master’s student from the Graduate School of Agriculture at Kyoto University, Japan.

Yumiko has come to undertake a two-month internship at CCRI in order to study the management and operation of footpaths and national trails in England. The trip is partly funded through the Connectivity of Hills, Humans and Oceans (CoHHO) program of Kyoto University.

Yumiko’s focus while in England aims to build on research she started last year in relation to development of the proposed ‘long coastal trail project’ in Japan. The aim of this project is the revitalization of hiking trails through towns along the coast in north eastern Japan, which were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. She is interested in learning about how public green spaces, including footpaths, are sustained and managed, and the ways in which people, including local residents, enjoy them.

During the internship, Yumiko hopes to explore footpaths and investigate management systems, and if possible, interview both management organizations and users of national trails. She will focus in particular on the Cotswold Way, the national trail closest to where the CCRI is located, but is also interested in investigating other long distance trails, especially the coastal paths around England and Wales.


Laure-Anne Magnard and Margaux Sabourin
Laure-Anne Magnard and Margaux Sabourin

March 2014 – Laure-Anne Magnard and Margaux Sabourin, France

The CCRI welcomed two internship students from the AgroParisTech, the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Science, from March 2014 to July 2014.

Laure-Anne Magnard and Margaux Sabourin, both third year students studying ‘Agricultural Development’, were invited to spend five months in the CCRI, to gain work experience to enable them to complete their study on the diagnostic-analysis of a small region’s agrarian systems. Laure-Anne’s interests included rural development, agriculture and food policies, whilst Margaux’ included agricultural policies, innovative field practices and rural development. Laure-Anne and Margaux were supervised by Professor Janet Dwyer.