The Executive Board of Wageningen University appointed Ruerd Ruben, international programme manager at LEI Wageningen UR, on the special chair 'Impact Assessment, with special reference to Food Security'. This chair is funded by LEI and hosted by the Development Economics group, department of the Social Sciences Wageningen University.
The education and research agenda for the special chair will focus on key linkages between poverty, food security and nutrition. Major attention is given to the impact of different types of policies and incentives (prices, finance, titling, knowledge) for enhancing production and consumption responses, and options for reducing risks and improving trust and loyalty in food value chains. The special chair focuses on the nexus between food/nutrition, natural resources/ climate and demographic change in a setting of adjusting consumption patterns (due to economic growth and urbanization) and competing claims on natural resources. The chair fulfils a key role in (inter)national policy debates on food and nutrition security, like the growing gap between poverty and malnutrition, prospects of innovative technologies for enhancing food security, the role of income and activity diversification for reducing vulnerability, contributions of smallholder farming for guaranteeing global food security, and food safety standards in international trade. The special chair will convene debates and bring together diverging views on these issues, supporting an evidence-based discussion platform between public, private and civic stakeholders.
Ruerd Ruben lived and worked for 14 years in Central America where he was engaged in programs of land reform, cooperative development and smallholder agriculture. Hereafter, he coordinated multidisciplinary research and training programs at Wageningen University on food security and sustainable land use in several sub-Saharan countries and was visiting fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C. In 2006 he became professor in Development Studies and director of the Centre for International Development Issues (CIDIN) at Radboud University Nijmegen. Since 2010 he was director of the independent Policy and Operations Evaluation (IOB) department at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and professor in Development Effectiveness at Radboud University Nijmegen.
He obtained his PhD at Free University Amsterdam with a study on the effectiveness of agrarian cooperatives. His research concerns the prospects for smallholder participation in agrarian production and value chains, the effectiveness of rural finance and labour market, welfare effects of agrarian policies and institutions, and the impact of fair trade certification, with research grants obtained from Dutch and International Science Foundations. Ruben worked extensively on innovative methods for robust impact analyses in the fields of basic education, water and sanitation, sustainable energy, agricultural production and nutrition. At LEI he coordinates the research programs on food security, value chains and impact assessment. He published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, co-edited 22 books, and accompanied 30 PhD theses.