• 25 Citations
  • 3 h-Index

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Personal profile


Assistant Prof Dr Sara Burbi trained as a qualified veterinary surgeon (University of Pisa, Italy). She holds a Masters in International Rural Development (Royal Agricultural University, UK) and a PhD in Climate Change and Agriculture (Coventry University and Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, UK).

Since February 2015, Sara works as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University. Here she leads the research on livestock and agroforestry farming systems. Among her current research projects is being part of CAWR-leadership team of the €4.1m H2020 project Organic-PLUS running from 2018-2022. She also leads CAWR team in the H2020 MSCA-RISE project UNDERTREES, leading WP2 on Training and Career Development. Sara is also Project Coordinator of the €7m H2020 project AGROMIX, currently in the Grant Agreement Preparation phase, running from 2020-2024. 

Sara has worked in Europe and in Latin America as veterinarian, lecturer and on community relief and knowledge exchange programmes. Between 2006 and 2009 she has run her own veterinary practice, leading a team of veterinary nurses and farm technicians. Her main research interests are livestock farming, agroforestry and the co-creation of knowledge between researchers and practitioners in a multi-actor approach. Having worked as a qualified veterinarian has given her not only academic insight into real farm management (technical and economic), it has also shaped her interests to facilitate the transition to more resilient farming systems. Sara has designed the Rapid Farm Practices Assessment (RFPA) tool to provide practical advice to farmers on how to improve their farm management in order to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while creating opportunities for farmers to work as co-researchers. She currently collaborates with many researchers and farming associations globally, primarily in Spain, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and Mexico. Being fluent in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Swedish helps her lead and bring together different farming and research cultures across Europe and Latin America.


Area of Expertise: livestock farming, agroecology, silvopasture, organic farming, transition, participatory action research

Experience: Europe, Latin America.

Current Projects:

  • May 2018 - Apr. 2022: H2020 Organic-PLUS (GA no.774340) in WP4 'Livestock'. Total budget: €4.1m
  • Jan. 2020 - Dec. 2023: H2020 MSCA-RISE UNDERTREES (GA no.872384), Lead WP2 'Training and Career Development'. Total budget: €1.23m
  • Nov. 2020 - Oct. 2024: Project Coordinator (PC) for H2020 AGROMIX (GA no.862993). Total budget: €7m

Course Director 2018-2019: MSc Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty

Other activities: Reviewer for UK and Norwegian National Research Councils, Guest Editor

Languages spoken:

  • Italian (native)
  • English (C2, fluent)
  • French (C2, fluent)
  • Spanish (C2, fluent)
  • Swedish (B2, independent) 


  • Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
  • Member of the Italian College of Veterinary Surgeons (Ordine Vet Pisa)
  • Member of Mensa, The High IQ Club; Italian branch
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature – Commission on Ecosystem Management (IUCN – CEM)
  • Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA): Socla.co (Spanish) Agroeco.org (English)
  • Agroecology Europe (AgroEco)
  • International Farming Systems Association (IFSA), Europe Group
  • European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF)
  • Farm Woodland Forum (EURAF partner in the UK)
  • Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), based in the United Kingdom

Research Interests

Grassland Productivity; Animal Nutrition; Organic Farming; Climate Change Impact; Agroforestry, Silvopasture; Systems Transition; Farmer Engagement; Agroeocological Livestock Systems; Knowledge Generation and Dissemination

Vision Statement

I am passionate about livestock farming and after graduating in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in my home country (Italy), I decided to pursue a career in sustainable rural development. I have worked in developing countries and I am a keen traveller, valuing cultural knowledge in various rural settings. I am particularly interested in grassland management and silvopasture, the latter being an agroforestry system with greater potential to mitigate climate change than other farming systems. Furthermore, pastoral, small-scale and family farming are vital in many areas across the world, especially in developing countries, and I believe that we, as a society, need to reconnect with the people who commit their lives to produce healthy, sustainable food adopting agroecological farming principles. We need to value their knowledge by engaging in collaborative projects in order to sustain rural livelihoods and promote agroecological farming practices that could help address the challenges we are facing in relation to climate change and our impact on the environment. My involvement in community engagement projects in Latin America and the United Kingdom highlighted the importance of facilitating knowledge exchange and participatory activities to build social and cultural capital, in order to address the issues of climate change and sustainable agroecological systems, and overcome the social barriers to the development of sustainable rural livelihoods.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate, Coventry University

1 Nov 20101 May 2014

MSc, Royal Agricultural University


Degree, University of Pisa


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Research Output

Open Access
  • Organic Livestock Production- A Bibliometric Review

    Manuelian, C. L., Penasa, M., da Costa, L., Burbi, S., Righi, F. & De Marchi, M., 3 Apr 2020, In : Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. 10, 4, 16 p., 618.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Open Access
  • Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)

    Unpacking the ‘Emergent Farmer’ Concept in Agrarian Reform: Evidence from Livestock Farmers in South Africa

    Gwiriri, L. C., Bennett, J., Mapiye, C. & Burbi, S., Nov 2019, In : Development and Change. 50, 6, p. 1664-1686 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
  • Activities

    Sustainability (Journal)

    Sara Burbi (Guest Editor), Ulrich Schmutz (Guest Editor), Moya Kneafsey (Guest Editor)
    Jan 2019Dec 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    Sustainability (Journal)

    Sara Burbi (Peer Reviewer)
    26 Mar 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

    Edinburgh Latin American Forum

    Sara Burbi (Speaker)
    4 Feb 20195 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    PRP Subject Specialist

    Sara Burbi (Examiner)
    17 Sep 2018

    Activity: Examination

    Norwegian Research Council - BIONÆR programme

    Sara Burbi (Reviewer)
    Nov 2018

    Activity: OtherReviewer of proposals for funding


    PhD Supervisory Team of the Year

    James Bennett (Recipient) & Sara Burbi (Recipient), 1 May 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)