UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Prof David Norse

Honorary Visiting Professor

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
14th Dec 1994

Research summary

Strategic planning and policy analysis for environmental protection,  sustainable agricultural development.and food security. Now primarily engaged on policy oriented research in China linking the natural and social sciences. 

Teaching summary

Post-graduate teaching experience on plant disease epidemiology, crop protection, biometrics and field experimentation and environmental economics. 


Formerly UCL’s Pro-Provost for China, and now an independent consultant. He continues to be an active researcher on policy solutions to food security and agro-environmental problems in China and globally.

He initially trained as an agricultural scientist and then worked on agricultural development problems in Africa and the Caribbean for many years before holding senior appointments with the UK Department of the Environment, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome. He contributed to the drafting of Agenda 21, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s first report (the section on food security), and to the Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change (background paper on GHG emissions from agriculture). Between 1993 and 2005 he was a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), a high level international policy consultative body that provides the Chinese leadership and policy makers in different levels of government with policy recommendations on key environment and development issues. He chaired the UN Scientific and Technical Planning Committee for the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) that was established in 1996 and helped set up the GTOS/GCOS Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate. From 2003-2011 he was a member of the UK Prime Minister’s China Task Force that provided advice on UK-China relations. He is an honorary professor of the Institute of Geographical Science and Natural Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. He was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in January 2009 for services to international sustainable development and UK-China relations.

His research has stretched from the mycoflora on the surface of tobacco leaves to the computer modelling of global agriculture. He has published over 200 papers, chapters, books or reports covering both the natural and social sciences.