Biography

I am interested in the interface between local resource managers and formal research institutions, particularly relating to crop breeding and seed supply, and to agricultural biodiversity conservation and utilisation.  My research includes studying farmer  knowledge and practice in plant genetic resource management, social norms and local institutions which shape resource access, and how policy narratives and institutional history affect reforms in research institutions.  This has implications for development interventions such as participatory plant breeding (PPB) and emergency seed relief.  These are described in more detail under the research section.

My background combines both natural and social sciences - PhD in Technology and Agrarian Development (Wageningen), MSc in Agriculture and Development (UEA), and BSc in Ecology (Ottawa).  This inter-disciplinarity informs both teaching and research . For instance, I consider how social factors influence practices of farmers or scientists, as well as the bio-physical results of these practices.  I have worked extensively in Ethiopia, but also Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. 

I am interested in hearing from anyone wishing to pursue new research (including PhD projects) on topics such as:

  • crop genetic resource management (including in situ / on farm conservation)
  • emergency seed relief
  • farmer participation in crop breeding and seed supply
  • 'poor-friendly' biotechnology
  • experts and expertise in regulating agricultural science
     

CV and Experience

Click here to download Shawn McGuire's CV

All Publications

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Mahon, N., McGuire, S., Mofakkarul Islam, M.

(2016)

Why bother with Bere? An investigation into the drivers behind the cultivation of a landrace barley,

in Journal of Rural Studies

45

pp. 54-65

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


McGuire, S., Sperling, L.

(2016)

Seed systems smallholder farmers use,

in Food Security

8

(1)

pp. 179-195

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Coomes, O., McGuire, S., Garine, E., Caillon, S., McKey, D., Demeulenaere, E., Jarvis, D., Aistara, G., Barnaud, A., Clouvel, P., Emperaire, L., Louafi, S., Martin, P., Massol, F., Pautasso, M., Violon, C., Wencelius, J.

(2015)

Farmer seed networks make a limited contribution to agriculture? Four common misconceptions,

in Food Policy

56

pp. 41-50

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gross-Camp, N., Martin, A., McGuire, S., Kebede, B.

(2015)

The privatization of the Nyungwe National Park buffer zone and implications for adjacent communities,

in Society and Natural Resources

28

(3)

pp. 296-311

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Martin, A., Gross-Camp, N., Kebede, B., McGuire, S.

(2014)

Measuring effectiveness, efficiency and equity in a Payments for Ecosystem Services trial.,

in Global Environmental Change

28

pp. 216–226

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Martin, A., Gross-camp, N., Kebede, B., Mcguire, S., Munyarukaza, J.

(2014)

Whose environmental justice? Exploring local and global perspectives in a payments for ecosystem services scheme in Rwanda,

in Geoforum

54

pp. 167-177

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Byrne, K., March, J., Mcguire, S., Meissner, L., Sperling, L.

(2013)

The role of evidence in humanitarian assessment: The seed system security assessment and the emergency market mapping and analysis,

in Disasters

37

(SUPPL.1)

pp. S83–S104

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Martin, A., Mcguire, S., Sullivan, S.

(2013)

Global environmental justice and biodiversity conservation,

in The Geographical Journal

179

(2)

pp. 122-131

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


McGuire, S., Sperling, L.

(2013)

Making seed systems more resilient to stress,

in Global Environmental Change

23

(3)

pp. 644-653

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Pautasso, M., Caillon, S., Massol, F., McKey, D., Aistara, G., Barnaud, A., Clouvel, P., Martin, P., Coomes, O., Delêtre, M., Demeulenaere, E., De Santis, P., Jarvis, D., Döring, T., Eloy, L., Emperaire, L., Garine, E., Goldringer, I., Thomas, M., Joly, H., Soler, C., Leclerc, C., Louafi, S., McGuire, S., Padoch, C., Tramontini, S.

(2013)

Seed exchange networks for agrobiodiversity conservation. A review,

in Agronomy for Sustainable Development

33

(1)

pp. 151-175

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Mcguire, S., Sperling, L.

(2013)

Seed system security assessment, East and South Madagascar,

UEA Repository

(Working paper)

(Published)


Sperling, L., McGuire, S.

(2012)

Fatal gaps in seed security strategy,

in Food Security

4

(4)

pp. 569-579

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Gross-Camp, N., Martin, A., McGuire, S., Kebede, B., Munyarukaza, J.

(2012)

Payments for ecosystem services in an African protected area: exploring issues of legitimacy, fairness, equity and effectiveness,

in Oryx

46

(01)

pp. 24-33

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Mcguire, S.

(2012)

Developing future experts in Agriculture for Development - some thoughts on the challenges of capacity-development to address inter-disciplinary problems,

in Journal of International Cooperation for Agricultural Development

12

pp. 3-7

UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Mcguire, S.

(2012)

Seed system security assessment, Northern Katanaga (Kalemie and Nyunzu Territories): Democratic Republic of Congo,

UEA Repository

(Working paper)

(Published)


Sperling, L., McGuire, S.

(2012)

The links between food security and seed security: facts and fiction that guide response,

in Global Food-Price Shocks and Poor People.

Routledge

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Siedenburg, J., Martin, A., Mcguire, S.

(2012)

The power of 'farmer friendly' financial incentives to deliver climate smart agriculture: A critical data gap,

in Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences

9

(4)

pp. 201-217

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


McGuire, S. J., Sperling, L.

(2011)

The links between food security and seed security: facts and fiction that guide response,

in Development in Practice

21

(4-5)

pp. 493-508

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Sperling, L., Mcguire, S., Smale, M., Bayard, B., Shannon, D.

(2010)

Seed System Security Assessment, Haiti,

UEA Repository

(Working paper)

(Published)


Sperling, L., McGuire, S.

(2010)

Persistent myths about emergency seed aid,

in Food Policy

35

(3)

pp. 195-201

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


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Key Research Interests

Environment and Development. Technology and agrarian development; biology; ecology; genetic resources management; farming systems ecology; biosafety.  

Research Groups: Global Environmental Justice

Research Activities

NetSEED, 2011-2014

Project Funded by the FRB (France), for the Centre of Synthesis and Analysis on Biodiversity

"The vast majority (<90%) of seed planted worldwide comes from 'informal' systems: these include diverse channels, such as farmer-farmer exchange or local markets. These exchanges are governed by ocal norms rather than formal regulations. This also applies to germplasm exchange through networks of scientists. Maintaining diversity in these systems of farmers (or scientists), and ensuring farmers' access to diversity, is thus a key issue linking food security, biodiversity conservation, and justice concerns. People create and shape agricultural biodiversity through a number of ways - selecting seeds, managing crops and their environments, and helping diffuse genetic diversity across space and time. Understanding the issue of diffusion within and among locations has become particularly important, since human activities have fragmented natural habits, altered agricultural environments, and facilitated global-scale connections. This diffusion is also fundamentally a social process - one often reflecting other forms of relationships between actors, identities, or even political expression.

This project examines seed networks across a wide range of crops and country settings, both in North and South. We use meta-analysis, semantic mapping, and social network theory to bridge disciples and case datasets. Network analysis can reveal new relationships between society and biodeiversity, and provides a tool that can help support farmers in maintaining and managing their seed flow networks. We explore how social relationships shape the structure of agriculture biodiversity, and in particular shape access to this diversity. Justice concerns feature in this emphasis on access, but alsio in NetSEED's interest in analysing seed network response to political change, and in an abiding concern with understanding how power and authority are expressed in the management of seed, and of generic resources."

Seed is the essential input for agriculture.  The breeding of new crop types, and supply systems to deliver seed, are still the largest single area of agricultural development.  Seed relief is a rapidly growing area of emergency assistance.  However, farmers' own systems still supply the vast majority of planting material each season, even in disaster situations.  My research explores the interface between farmer seed systems and formal institutions.

At the micro level, my research focuses on farmers' practices, which maintain and disseminate crop varieties (both 'local' and 'modern') and support household seed security.  This ranges from detailed study of seed exchange, to exploring how social norms and informal institutions influence a household's access to seed.  I use such studies to better understand local strategies for coping with stress, as well as opportunities for innovation (e.g. how farmers explore new crop varieties), or for collaboration with formal research.  This also provides insights into broader issues such as the management of genetic resources or function of informal markets.  This is used to inform policy and practice in development interventions, including participatory plant breeding (PPB), integrated seed supply, or emergency seed relief

At the macro level, I am interested in the opportunities and challenges for participatory reform in public-sector research institutions.  policy narratives, and path-dependency inform my analysis of breeding and seed supply practices, and their effectiveness at involving farmers and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of their work.  Most recently, I have been analysing the influence of Ethiopian policy on emergency seed relief, in order to highlight areas for policy reform. 

A related research interest is in the possibility of 'poor-friendly' agricultural biotechnology emerging from public-sector research.  I am particularly interested in how technologies are shaped by priority-setting processes (e.g. stakeholder participation and 'locked-in' institutional practices), regulatory systems (e.g. biosafety), and by partnerships between public and private institutions (e.g. for sharing intellectual property). 

A recent article in the popular science magazine Miller-McCune, entitled 'Making Seed Aid Blossom', gives a good introduction to my work on reforming emergency seed aid. 

Another popular article Seed vouchers - not handouts focuses on how strengthening local market channels can help build resilience to climate change.

Teaching Interests

At Undergraduate level, I teach on various Natural Resources modules, from 1st year Introduction to the 3rd year Field Course.

Postgraduate teaching includes Globalised Agriculture and Food Systems, Political Ecology, and a guest slot in Rural Livelihoods and Agrarian Change. 

I also teach on the Epistemology workshop for Research Students.