Prof Katherine Homewood

Prof Katherine Homewood



  • Professor of Human Ecology
    Dept of Anthropology
    Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL


My research combines social and natural sciences approaches to interactions of environmental policies and rural development, particularly impacts of conservation policies on local peoples’ land use, livelihoods and wellbeing, developing mixed methods study of differentiated change in rural livelihoods. I focus on East African rangelands, but supervise PhDs working throughout the global South. The Human Ecology Research Group I have convened since 1990 draws together social and natural sciences academic staff, postdocs, PhDs and MScs. I have 30 years’ experience of leading and co-leading large-scale, international interdisciplinary collaborations, funded by DFID, EU, RCUK. My early training in natural science, and subsequent experience and skills in social science, have been important in integrating across disciplines and perspectives. I am strongly committed to delivering research that contributes positively to shaping policy and practice, through building relations with policymakers, civil society and communities. I act to ensure that project research design, data collection, and findings are discussed in depth with local users, tested against lived experience, and made available in ways appropriate for different levels. I use evidence to inform development agencies, civil society professionals and resource managers, leading to positive change in natural resource governance in ways that support poor communities’ wellbeing alongside environmental sustainability. I aim to co-produce findings for local people to negotiate more effectively with state and entrepreneurs, eventually scaling up to influence state policies, investment and community-led management of natural resources, with local cases’ adoption of research-led policy ultimately leading to wider societal change.

Award year Qualification Institution
1976 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
University College London
1971 BA
Bachelor of Arts
University of Oxford
I studied Zoology at Oxford and gained my PhD in Anthropology at the University of London. After working at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, I joined UCL in 1980 as lecturer and Tutor in Human Sciences, an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree. I am now Professor of Human Ecology in Anthropology at UCL. The Human Ecology Research Group I convene integrates natural and social sciences approaches to interactions of conservation and development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. I work primarily on the interaction of conservation and development in pastoralist systems in East Africa, focusing on the implications of environmental policies and practice for people's livelihoods and welfare, and on the implications of people's resource use for biodiversity. I publish in both natural and social sciences journals and have directed several European Union- and DFID-funded international collaborative research programmes in East and West Africa and supervised around 40 PhD students, working mainly in a range of African countries but also in Latin America and Central Asia, most of whom have gone on to academic posts, government or NGO work.