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New Leadership at Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Environment

David Lobell

David Lobell, new director of Stanford's Center on Food Security and the Environment.

Jul 5, 2018


The Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE) is pleased to announce Professor David B. Lobell will step in as director Sept. 1, 2018. Lobell succeeds Rosamond L. Naylor who has been director since FSE’s inception in 2005.

"I am thrilled to be able to pass the leadership of FSE to the next generation. David encompasses everything one would want to see in a successor – he is a first-rate scholar, a global leader in the food security field, and wonderful person. Everyone wants to work with him,” said Naylor.

A joint effort of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, FSE’s mission is to generate and disseminate vital knowledge and policy-relevant solutions to ensure Earth’s lands and waters sustainably support the nutritional needs of a growing global population.

“I'm excited to lead FSE. Roz has created such a positive and productive culture inside FSE, and at the same time has mastered the ability to articulate our goals and progress to the world. I look forward to continuing our pursuit of high level research on the most useful questions in food security and the environment," said Lobell.

Lobell earned his PhD at Stanford in 2005 in geological and environmental sciences. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he joined FSE as a senior research scholar in 2008, became a center fellow in 2009 and in 2014 was named deputy director of FSE.

His research focuses on advancing the understanding of agriculture and food security, by generating and using unique datasets to study rural areas throughout the world. His recent projects span a number of topics including examining climate impacts and adaptation on agricultural production, to mapping yields of smallholder farms in Kenya, to applying machine learning to identify poverty zones in rural Africa. 

“I see FSE as a place executing rigorous research on important topics. I think that's really important for a world that is awash in opinions, special interests, and pseudo-science related to food," said Lobell.

Lobell is also a professor in the Department of Earth System Science, a William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and co-director of the Data for Development Initiative under the newly launched Center on Global Poverty and Development. He teaches several courses including Data for Sustainable Development, Feeding Nine Billion, Fundamentals of Modeling, and Climate and Society while also mentoring graduate and undergraduate students.


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