Professor Bhavani Shankar

Key information

Professor of International Food, Agriculture and Health Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute
BA (Madras), MA (New York), PhD (Illinois)
Telephone number
+44 (0) 20 7074 5165


Bhavani is an applied economist working on research areas at the intersection of agriculture, food, nutrition and health, in developing as well as developed countries. His current research interests include the analysis of economic drivers of over and under nutrition, food and nutrition policy evaluation and the role of agriculture and food systems in enabling better nutrition and health. His ongoing and recent externally funded research projects include LANSA (Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia) and POSHE (Palm Oil: Sustainability, Health and Economics), Sustainable and Health Food Systems (SHEFS) and MINI (Market Interventions for Nutritional Improvement). In the past, his research involvements have included analysis of animal disease in the Mekong region, floodplain resource management in Bangladesh and the evaluation of transgenic cotton performance in South Africa and India. He is currently an academic editor for PLOS One, and served as Managing Editor of Food Policy during 2011-2015.

Research interests

Current and recent externally funded projects:

Market Intervention for Nutritional Improvement (MINI):

MINI is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and DfID. Partners include SOAS (lead), ILRI (co-lead), Digital Green (India), Bangladesh Agricultural University, LSHTM and Lincoln University. It is set in India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, and aims to study the potential for a market aggregation service to improve the availability of nutritious fresh produce (vegetables and poultry) in local markets.

Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS):

SHEFS is a programme aiming to provide policy makers with novel, interdisciplinary evidence to define future food systems policies that deliver nutritious and healthy foods in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner. This LSHTM-led project is funded by the Wellcome Trust and includes eight partners in addition to SOAS. shefs/

Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA)

LANSA is a DfID-funded research consortium led by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (India) and including IFPRI, IDS, LCIRAH/SOAS, BRAC International (Bangladesh), and the Collective for Social Science Research (Pakistan), which is researching agriculture for improved nutrition in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

Palm Oil: Sustainability, Health and Economics (POSHE)

POSHE is funded by the Wellcome Trust under its ‘Our Planet, Our Health’ initiative, and includes the following partners: SOAS, LSTHM, Chiang Mai University (Thailand), KMUTT (Thailand), Copenhagen University (Denmark) and Stanford University (USA). POSHE is looking at the trade-offs between the economic, health and environmental dimensions of the growth of palm oil as a food ingredient in Thailand

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Fadekunayo Adeniyi Overcoming the Constraints to On-Grid Renewable Energy Investments in Nigeria
Keni Kariuki Agriculture and Public Policy: Dissecting the Role of Public Policy in Kenyan Agricultural Development
Fiorella N. Picchioni "Monitoring the effects of changing food prices on food security and nutrition – the Minimum Calorie Expenditure Share (MCES)"
Mr Dominic Rowland Palm oil and the demise of swidden agriculture: The effects of agrarian change on food security and nutrition in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.


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