The Queen's University of Belfast    

Department of Agricultural and Food Economics


“providing strategic research and university teaching in the economics and management of agribusiness, the environment and rural development”

Agricultural and Food Economics is a Division of the DARD Science Service

Our research programme is recognised nationally and internationally for work on the economics of environmental change, business competitiveness, policy impact analysis and rural development. The work is very dependent on external funding and the winning of these grants has been very important to the development of our research.

We have had considerable success in attracting external research grants. For example, a five year programme of research on rural development with funding of about £500k mainly from the European Commission’s LEADER II programme.  A grant of about £800k was awarded by DARD (policy) and IFI for work on a major regional policy impact assessment model, undertaken in close collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, (FAPRI), University of Missouri and TEAGASC in Dublin. As a follow on to this regional policy impact model, the Division was successful in obtaining funding of £100k from the EU Fifth Framework programme towards the development of a UK policy impact model based on the methods developed for the Northern Irish model. This will link up with national models developed by partners throughout the EU to provide an integrated European model.

Other recent external research monies include a grant of £145k from the Department of Regional Development for a three-year study of the Cost and Benefits of Freshwater Quality Improvements.  A new contract worth £40k for an evaluation on the introduction of Early Retirement and New Entrants Schemes for Farmers in Northern Ireland is being undertaken in collaboration with University College Dublin; this study was commissioned directly by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development. Another new externally funded study in partnership with ARINI is seeking to identify optimal milk production systems under a range of possible economic conditions. The Department is also recognised as a scholarly centre for research on the Chinese rural economy and participates, as a host, in the EU-China co-operation programme.

The work of Agricultural and Food Economics is strongly linked to the strategic goals of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NI) which is an important funder of the work. The timeliness and relevance of our research results provide key decision support to government and the private sector.

Departmental staff are actively involved in the agricultural economics profession at national and international levels. For example, the Head, Dr John Davis, recently took the lead for the British and European Agricultural Economics Societies in developing a new European outreach publication, EuroChoices, and he is now Co-editor. This pan-European publication seeks to communicate the work and ideas of agri-food and rural resource economists in an accessible way to government and private sector decision-makers, NGOs and the interested public more generally. He has also recently co-authored two books, one on Rural Change in Ireland and another on The Chinese Grain Economy.

Agricultural and Food Economics has a very full research and outreach programme and will continue to make important contributions at regional, national and international levels.



Head of Department of Agricultural and Food Economics and Former Director of the Center for Rural Studies, also hold post of Director of Economic Research (DARD). 

One QUB Senior Lecturer and also Principal Agricultural Economist (DARD).

Four QUB Lecturers and two of them are also DARD Senior Agricultural Economists.

Two Research Fellows, three Research Assistants and Nine Postgraduate Research Students.


Last updated September 2004