Professor Tom Oliver

Member of Science Council

Last updated: 01 May 2024

Professor Tom Oliver

Professor Tom Oliver is the Research Dean for Environment at the University of Reading and a Professor of Applied Ecology. He has advised Defra in the UK government, helping them to set up a ‘Systems Research Programme’, and the Cabinet Office on ‘chronic risks’ to complement the UK National Security Risk Assessment. He regularly advises the European Commission and was previously a member of the European Environment Agency scientific committee, working on sustainability transitions. Oliver’s research helps understand the mechanisms by which food systems become locked into undesirable states, and how they change over time across the world. His recent work shows how food system change requires a deeper focus on sociocultural factors beyond technological and economic interventions, and he is co-author on a UNDP report on this topic. He has led UKRI consortium projects developing methods to appraise systemic risks to food security and is a founding member of the international ASRA network developing approaches to assess complex risks. He has published more than 100 scientific papers in world-leading interdisciplinary journals and enjoys communicating science through popular writing and speaking at public events.

An up-to-date record of member interests can be found on the register of interests page