Researcher biography

Dr Severine van Bommel is an interdisciplinary social scientist working on the human side of agriculture and natural resource management. She is the leader of the Rural Development Group within the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences. She also coordinates the broader Social Science group within that school. She holds a PhD from Wageningen University (NL), where she worked as Associate Professor with the Communication Studies Group until 2018.

Her research and teaching focus deliberative and participatory practices in agricultural extension and rural development. Taking an interpretive approach, she investigates what is meaningful to people, and how those meanings - often plural, at times clashing - are enacted. When possible she moves beyond explanation to co-design and social learning intended to improve the situation, such as for marginalised actors (both human and non-human). She has a track record of successful, innovative, social science research in this domain through international projects such as SLIM, LEARNing, and CADWAGO. Her research has led to insights on how to conduct and co-design processes that trigger social learning and sustain it. She has more than 15 years of experience of working in Africa, Latin America and Europe. She is currently mainly working in Australia and the Pacific.

She has published and presented papers on the above mentioned topics in journals and international congress proceedings, been a co-editor in scientific journals and publications and served as a member of the boards of relevant scientific societies and international conferences and meetings. Her publications include the co-edited books Forest-People Interfaces (Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012) and Forest and Nature Governance: a Practice based Approach (Springer 2013). She is currently working on a book on Community engagement in sustainable management of Social-Ecological Systems. Her teaching includes various interdisciplinary BSc and MSc courses on Stakeholder Engagement. Leadership, and Human-wildlife conflicts. She also supervises PhD students.

She is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Interpretive Policy Analysis conference (IPA) and she is a member of the editorial board of the Critical Policy Studies journal. She mentors early career researchers interested in interpretive methods within the framework of the APSA mentoring program and she runs a Virtual International Community of Practice for Interpretive Practitioners. She is also part of in the International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) and the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN).