SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Adam Willman

BSc in Agronomy (Iowa State University), BSc in Global Resource Systems (Iowa State University), MSc Research for International Development (SOAS)
  • Research


Adam Willman
Adam Willman
Email address:
Thesis title:
Farmer's decision-making process: lessons learnt from rural farming communities in Ethiopia & Kenya
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


I was born and raised in the US state of Iowa surrounded by fields of maize, soybeans and hay. This environment triggered my interests in conservation and agriculture. I earned two BSc degrees at Iowa State University—one in Agronomy and another in Global Resource Systems with a minor in Horticulture. During this time I also interned with several international agriculture businesses and research centres including Cargill, Inc., DuPont Pioneer and CIMMYT. While I found the technical natural science aspects of agriculture interesting, I knew something was missing from my understanding of the global agricultural production network. That feeling is the reason I came to SOAS to earn my MSc in Research for International Development. The modules in my degree programme gave me the tools to critique various issues in agricultural production. I applied for my current PhD project in the last couple of months of my MSc programme. This project, 'Farmer's decision-making process: lessons learnt from rural farming communities in Ethiopia & Kenya', is allowing me to combine the technical aspects of my undergraduate degrees with the social science aspects of my MSc by deploying an interdisciplinary methodology and engaging with several different disciplines.

PhD Research

I am currently designing a framework, to answer the question 'how do small-holder farmers make decisions and innovate in Ethiopia and Kenya?' This research will utilize theories, insights and methodologies from three academic disciplines: Anthropology, Agronomy and Economics. Using this interdisciplinary approach will enable me to investigate this question through multiple lenses which will provide more holistic insights into my research question. I will be conducting my field work in southern Ethiopia focusing on small-holder cotton farmers. This research is funded through an ESRC Studentship Grant and in partnership with the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN-UK).


  • Agriculture
  • Agroecology
  • Agrarian Change
  • Political Ecology