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HomeAcademic staffProfessor Deborah Johnston
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I am a Professor in Development Economics and joined London South Bank University in April 2020 as PVC (Education), now Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Framework). Previously worked as Pro-Director (Learning and Teaching) at SOAS University of London, where I was also Associate Dean (Research) and Economics Head of Department.

I completed an undergraduate degree in Economics and a MPhil in the Economics and Politics of Development at Queens’ College Cambridge. I completed a PhD in Economics in 1997 from SOAS University of London and have split my career across academia, charities and government.

My academic work has focused on inequality, wellbeing and poverty, while my education focus is on the promotion of an accessible and impactful curriculum.

My work at SOAS also involved a close partnership with the Students Union to reduce the Racialized Awarding Gap. I obtained the Principal Fellowship of Higher Education Academy in 2019. In both SOAS and LSBU, I have been the executive lead for work on access and participation, looking at awarding gaps by disability, racialized group, gender, age and class.

I am a commissioner in the OFS’s Disabled Students Commission, a member of the TASO Working Group on Disability and Mental Health, and Chair of Aim Higher London’s Inclusive Practice Award panel. I am someone who stammers and have worked closely with both STAMMA (the British Stammering Association) and the Stammering Through University Consultancy to ensure greater awareness of the needs of students who stammer. In 2021, I was appointed to the Board of STAMMA.

In my work for the Disabled Students Commission, I am key lead for links with the QAA and the PSRB forum, and have led work to look at the way that subject benchmarks can promote inclusion.

PhD in Economics

Dept of Economics, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London

1992
1997
M.Phil in Economics & politics of development

Cambridge University, Queens' College

1989
1988
B.A. (Hons) in Economics. Specialisations: Finance, Industry, Economics of Development

Cambridge University, Queens' College

1988
1985
Principal Fellow

Higher Education Academy, AdvanceHE

2019
2019
Coaching practices

Coursera (Accredited), University of California, Davis

2019
2019
Coaching conversations

Coursera (Accredited), University of California, Davis

2019
2019
Managing as a coach

Coursera (Accredited), University of California, Davis

2018
2018
Setting Expectations & Assessing Performance Issues

Coursera (Accredited), University of California, Davis

2018
2018
Inclusive Learning and Teaching Environments

Futurelearn (Accredited), University of Southampton

2018
2018
Better Leader, Richer Life

Coursera (Accredited), University of Pennsylvania

2015
2015
Winner International Speech and Evaluation Contests Area K58 and District 91

Toastmasters International

2019
2019
Contests Area K58 and District 91

Toastmasters International

2019
2019
Advanced Communicator Silver

Toastmasters International

2019
2019
Competent Leader Award

Toastmasters International

2019
2019
Competent Communicator Award

Toastmasters International

2018
2018
RADA, Bespoke Public Speaking

RADA in Business

2017
2017
SOAS Leadership Programme

SOAS University of London

2015
2016
Pro-D)
SOAS University of London

• Development of the School’s Learning and Teaching and student experience strategies and policies, and to oversee their implementation across the School and within Faculties. Alongside the Pro-Director (Research & Enterprise), Heads of Dept, the Associate Deans for Learning & Teaching, Director Academic Services and other appropriate colleagues.

• Overseeing the development and ongoing management of the School’s curriculum to respond to new opportunities and meet demand.

• Supporting the School’s Widening Participation Strategy in identifying, nurturing and developing the potential of our current and prospective students irrespective of their back ground.

• Providing academic oversight for student recruitment and monitor the School’s position throughout the year ensuring rigorous entry qualifications of talented students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

• Overseeing the setting of recruitment targets and fees in partnership with Finance and Planning

• Ensuring the School’s readiness for the changing HE landscape including the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework and ensuring that the School is constantly seeking to innovate its educational practices though enhancement of its teaching and learning provision.

2016
2020
Education
Reader in Development Economics
Dept of Economics, SOAS

• Head of Economics Department (2015/16, Term 1)

• Research Director, Economics Department (2014/15)

• Joint Research Tutor (2014/15)

2013
2016
Education
Lecturer
Dept of Economics, SOAS

• Joint Research Tutor, Dept of Economics (2008/09)

• Programme Convenor for MSc Development Economics (2004/2005 to 2006/07)

• Programme Convenor for MSc Economics with ref to Africa (2003/2004 till present)

• Admissions Tutor for Economics Dept MSc courses (2005/2006).

2003
2009
Education
Senior Economist, Social Policy Programme
Oxford Policy Management

Project lead: World Bank Lesotho MTEF for education

2001
2002
Third sector/charities
Asistant Director, Competition Policy Directorate
Department of Trade & Industry

• Policy development team in the area of international competition policy. Liaison with OECD, and other UK depts

2000
2001
Other public sector
Evaluation Manager
West London Training & Enterprise Council

• Management of internal evaluation activities and commissioning of external contracts; publications and reporting; liaison with partners.

1998
2000
Other public sector
Micro-economist, Research & Policy Programme
Agency for Cooperation & Research in Development

• Analysis and evaluation of the impact of programmes and projects; design, implementation and supervision of research.

1997
1998
Other public sector
Economist
Land Reform Unit of Land & Agriculture Policy Centre, Johannesburg (via Oxford Policy Management)

• Duties include: socio-economic evaluation of policy; budgeting and financial analysis of projects; and general policy advice to Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs.

1995
1997
Other public sector
Temporary lecturer
School of Economics and Business Sciences, University of Witwatersrand

• Developed and taught MSc module on Trade and Industrial Policy.

1997
1997
Education
Researcher
Dept of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies

• Operational management of field team. Survey design and implementation. Preparation of papers for publication.

1993
1995
Education
Researcher
African Development Bank via Oxford International Associates

• Research assistant on study of effects of economic integration in Southern Africa.

1992
1992
Other public sector
Consultant
Bank of England

• Short-term input to develop economic forecasting model for Pakistan

1991
1991
Other public sector
Overseas Development Institute Fellow
Ministry of Finance, Lesotho

• Economic analysis of debt management and monitoring; government representative in donor, IMF and World Bank meetings. Project financial management.

1989
1991
Other public sector
Consultant
National Institute for Economic and Social Research, London

• Short-term consultancy to investigate statistical aspects of British unemployment

1989
1989
Other public sector
FunderYear wonProjectRole
Office for Students (OfS)2022London UniConnectCo-Investigator
Office for Student’s. Disabled Students Commission
2020
What Works Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO)
2021
Aim Higher London’s Inclusive Practice Award panel
2021
Canadian Journal of Development Studies
2014
Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos (IESE)
2013
2016
Centro de Estudos sobre África e do Desenvolvimento (Portugal)
2013
2013
Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health
2011
2016
Journal of Agrarian Change

Editorial/Advisory Board Member
2007
2016
London School of Hygine and Tropical Medicine
Other

Guest lecturer

‘Measurement of wealth and socio-economic position in LMICs’, Social Epidemiology (MSc)

September 2008
September 2009
Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos (IESE)

Member of the Permanent External Committee

December 2013
Office for Student’s Disabled Students Commission

General commissioner

Third sector
March 2020
Prizes, awards, and accolades

Do agricultural input subsidies on staples reduce dietary diversity? (Jan 2017)

DFID/ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Co-investigator. January 2017 – December 2018


Time Use and Women’s Empowerment Technical Expert Consultancy (Mar 2016)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

March 2016- June 2017. Expert advisor.


Healthy and Affordable Protein for the African Middle-Class (Apr 2015)

Danish Strategic Fund

WP6 April 2015-April 2017: Consumer preferences and communication of product health

properties in the West African market. WP-leader: Deborah Johnston.


Women’s time use, food consumption and nutrition - a mixed studies review (May 2014)

IFPRI/ LCIRAH

PI: Deborah Johnston


Fair Trade, Employment and Poverty Reduction Project (Apr 2010)

Department for International Development

Coinvestigator in a four-year DFID funded project looking at the impact of Fairtrade on wage workers in tea, coffee and cutflower production in Uganda and Ethiopia


Farmwork and food: understanding women's employment and the shift to purchased food in Ethiopia (May 2014)

British Academy Small Grant

May 2014 to Sept 2014. PI: Deborah Johnston.


Current and Planned Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition: A Mapping and a Gap Analysis (Mar 2012)

Department for International Development

March 2012 to July 2012. Co-investigator


Understanding and Improving the Relationship between Agriculture and Health (Jun 2009)

Foresight Fund

June 2009-June 2010. Co-investigator


Reach and Impact

Voice of the Sector - Choice and Complexity: Challenges and opportunities for careers information, advice and guidance - TASO (Jul 2022)


Supporting Students Who Stammer (Dec 2021)


Stammer Awareness Campaign (Nov 2021)


Sep 2011 - Jun 2016

Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (from 2011-2016)

Member of bidding team and then management committee for Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health http://www.lcirah.ac.uk/


Sep 2013 - Oct 2013

WHO PMNCH ‘Strategy Briefs on Cross Sectoral Approaches to Women's and Children's Health: Agriculture/Food and Nutrition’, PI: Deborah Johnston.


The Urban Food Question in the Context of Inequality and Dietary Change: A Study of Schoolchildren in Accra
Stevano, S., Johnston, D. and Codjoe, E. (2019). The Urban Food Question in the Context of Inequality and Dietary Change: A Study of Schoolchildren in Accra. The Journal of Development Studies. 56 (6), pp. 1177-1189. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2019.1632434

'Better decisions for food security? Critical reflections on the economics of food choice and decision-making in development economics
Stevano, S., Johnston, D. and Codjoe, E.A. (2020). 'Better decisions for food security? Critical reflections on the economics of food choice and decision-making in development economics. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 44 (4), pp. 813-833. https://doi.org/10.1093/cje/beaa012

Economic Policy and Food Security in Ethiopia
Walls, H. and Johnston, D. (2019). Economic Policy and Food Security in Ethiopia. in: Cramer, C. and Arkebe, O. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy Oxford Oxford University Press.

The role of evidence in nutrition policymaking in Ethiopia: institutional structures and issue framing
Walls, H., Johnston, D., Vecchione, E., Adam, A. and Parkhurst, J.O. (2018). The role of evidence in nutrition policymaking in Ethiopia: institutional structures and issue framing. Development Policy Review. 37 (2), pp. 293-310. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12385

Time-Use Analytics: An Improved Way of Understanding Gendered Agriculture-Nutrition Pathways
Stevano, S., Kadiyala, S., Johnston, D., Malapit, H., Hull, E. and Kalamatianou, S. (2018). Time-Use Analytics: An Improved Way of Understanding Gendered Agriculture-Nutrition Pathways. Feminist Economics. 25 (3), pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2018.1542155

The impact of agricultural input subsidies on food and nutrition security: a systematic review
Walls, H., Johnston, D., Tak, M., Dixon, J., Hanefeld, J., Hull. and and Smith, .D. (2018). The impact of agricultural input subsidies on food and nutrition security: a systematic review. Food Security. 10 (6), pp. 1425-1436. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-018-0857-5

From kitchen to classroom: Assessing the impact of cleaner burning biomass-fuelled cookstoves on primary school attendance in Karonga district, northern Malawi
Kelly, C., Crampin, A., Mortimer, K., Dube, A., Malava, J., Johnston, D., Unterhalter, E. and Glynn, J. (2018). From kitchen to classroom: Assessing the impact of cleaner burning biomass-fuelled cookstoves on primary school attendance in Karonga district, northern Malawi. PLoS ONE. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193376

Employers’ responses to the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: Revisiting the evidence
Deane, K., Stevano, S. and Johnston, D. (2018). Employers’ responses to the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: Revisiting the evidence. Development Policy Review. 37 (2), pp. 245-259. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12380

Review: Time Use as an Explanation for the Agri-Nutrition Disconnect: Evidence from Rural Areas in Low and Middle-Income Countries
Johnston, D., Stevano, S., Malapit, H.J., Hull, E. and Kadiyala, S. (2018). Review: Time Use as an Explanation for the Agri-Nutrition Disconnect: Evidence from Rural Areas in Low and Middle-Income Countries. Food Policy. 76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.12.011

Why we are still failing to measure the nutrition transition
Walls, H.L., Johnston, D., Mazalale, J. and Chirwa, E.W. (2018). Why we are still failing to measure the nutrition transition. 3 (1). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000657

Integrating agriculture and health research for development: LCIRAH as an interdisciplinary programme to address a global challenge
Waage, J., Dangour, .D., Haesler, B., Shankar, B., Johnston, D., Gohil, E., Gwan-Lim, G., Walls, H., Lock, K., Hull, E., Smith, Richard D., Green, R. and Kadiyala, S. (2018). Integrating agriculture and health research for development: LCIRAH as an interdisciplinary programme to address a global challenge. Global Challenges. 3 (4). https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.201700104

The Welfare Effects of Trade in Phytomedicines: A Multi-Disciplinary Analysis of Turmeric Production
Booker, A., Johnston, D. and Heinrich, M. (2015). The Welfare Effects of Trade in Phytomedicines: A Multi-Disciplinary Analysis of Turmeric Production. World Development. 77, pp. 221-230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.08.024

The asset debates: How (not) to use asset indices to measure well being and the middle class in Africa
Johnston, D. and Alexandre, A. (2016). The asset debates: How (not) to use asset indices to measure well being and the middle class in Africa. African Affairs. 115 (460), pp. 399-418. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adw019

Why is malaria associated with poverty? Findings from a cohort study in rural Uganda
Tusting, L., Rek, J., Arinaitwe, E., Staedke, S., Kamya, M., Cano, J., Bottomley, C., Johnston, D., Dorsey, G., Lindsay, S. and Lines, J. (2016). Why is malaria associated with poverty? Findings from a cohort study in rural Uganda. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 5 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40249-016-0164-3

Fairtrade and Labour Markets in Ethiopia and Uganda
Cramer, C., Johnston, D., Oya, C. and Sender, J. (2017). Fairtrade and Labour Markets in Ethiopia and Uganda. The Journal of Development Studies. 53 (6), pp. 841-856. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220388.2016.1208175

Nudging or Fudging: The World Development Report 2015
Fine, B., Johnston, D., Santos, A. and Van Waeyenberge, E. (2016). Nudging or Fudging: The World Development Report 2015. Development and Change. 47 (6), pp. 640-663. https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12240

Mistakes, Crises, and Research Independence: The Perils of Fieldwork as a form of Evidence
Cramer, C., Johnston, D., Oya, C. and Sender, J. (2016). Mistakes, Crises, and Research Independence: The Perils of Fieldwork as a form of Evidence. African Affairs. 115 (458), pp. 145-160. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adv067

Measuring socioeconomic inequalities in relation to malaria risk: a comparison of metrics in rural Uganda
Tusting, L., Rek, J., Arinaitwe, E., Staedke, S., Kamya, M., Bottomley, C., Johnston, D., Lines, J., Dorsey, G. and Lindsay, S. (2016). Measuring socioeconomic inequalities in relation to malaria risk: a comparison of metrics in rural Uganda. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 94 (3), pp. 650-658. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.15-0554

Agriculture, Gendered Time Use, and Nutritional Outcomes: A Systematic Review
Johnston, D., Stevano, S., Malapit, H.J., Hull, E. and Kadiyala, S. (2015). Agriculture, Gendered Time Use, and Nutritional Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Washington, D.C. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda
Johnston, D. (2014). Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda. SOAS.

Chemical variability along the value chains of turmeric (Curcuma longa): A comparison of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and high performance thin layer chromatography
Booker, A., Frommenwiler, D., Johnston, D., Umealajekwu, C., Reich, E. and Heinrich, M. (2014). Chemical variability along the value chains of turmeric (Curcuma longa): A comparison of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and high performance thin layer chromatography. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.042

Value chains of herbal medicines - Research needs and key challenges in the context of ethnopharmacology
Booker, A., Johnston, D. and Heinrich, M. (2012). Value chains of herbal medicines - Research needs and key challenges in the context of ethnopharmacology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 140 (3), pp. 624-633. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.01.039

Measuring socio-economic position for epidemiological studies in low-and middle-income countries: A methods of measurement in epidemiology paper
Howe, L.D., Galobardes, B., Matijasevich, A., Gordon, D., Johnston, D., Onwujekwe, O., Patel, R., Webb, E.A., Lawlor, D.A. and Hargreaves, J.R. (2012). Measuring socio-economic position for epidemiological studies in low-and middle-income countries: A methods of measurement in epidemiology paper. International Journal of Epidemiology. 41 (3), p. 871–886. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dys037

Shooting for the wrong target?: A reassessment of the international education goals for sub-Saharan Africa
Johnston, D. (2010). Shooting for the wrong target?: A reassessment of the international education goals for sub-Saharan Africa. Revista de Economia Mundial.

Feeding the world healthily: The challenge of measuring the effects of agriculture on health
Hawkesworth, S., Dangour, A.D., Johnston, D., Lock, K., Poole, N., Rushton, J., Uauy, R. and Waage, J. (2010). Feeding the world healthily: The challenge of measuring the effects of agriculture on health. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 365 (1554). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0122

The 2007-2008 World Food Crisis: Focusing on the Structural Causes
Johnston, D. and Bargawi, H. (2010). The 2007-2008 World Food Crisis: Focusing on the Structural Causes. Centre for Development Policy and Research.

HIV/AIDS mitigation strategies and the State in sub-Saharan Africa - The missing link?
Mohiddin, A. and Johnston, D. (2006). HIV/AIDS mitigation strategies and the State in sub-Saharan Africa - The missing link? Globalization and Health. 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-8603-2-1