Sara Burbi

Dr, DVM, Agroecological Livestock Systems

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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. Sara is Project Coordinator (PI) of the €7m H2020 project AGROMIX, running from 2020-2024. She also leads CAWR team in the H2020 MSCA-RISE project UNDERTREES, leading WP2 on Training and Career Development; and she's part of the recently awarded H2020-CSA project AE4EU 'Agroecology for Europe', that started in January 2021.

    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:

    • Nov. 2020 - Oct. 2024: Project Coordinator (PI) for H2020-RIA AGROMIX (GA no.862993). Total budget: €7m
    • Jan. 2020 - Dec. 2024: H2020 MSCA-RISE UNDERTREES (GA no.872384), Lead WP2 'Training and Career Development'. Total budget: €1.23m
    • Jan. 2021 - Dec. 2023: H2020-CSA AE4EU (GA no.101000478) in WP3 'Funding schemes and souces for agroecology'. Total budget: €2m
    • May 2018 - Oct. 2022: H2020-RIA Organic-PLUS (GA no.774340) in WP4 'Livestock'. Total budget: €4.1m

    Contributing author: Working Group II contribution to the UN IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, 2021; Expertise: Europe, agroecology, agroforestry, feasibility and risk assessment of adaptation strategies.

    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): (Spanish) (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

    Award Date: 1 May 2014

    MSc, Royal Agricultural University


    Award Date: 1 Sep 2010

    Degree, University of Pisa


    Award Date: 7 Jul 2006

    External positions

    Contributing Author, Working Group II contribution to the UN IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, 2021, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


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