Dr Pip Nicholas-Davies

PRINCE2 Foundation - Project Management Certificate (2010)

Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom (2008-2010)

PhD in Plant Science, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (1996-1999)

Bachelor of Agricultural Science (First Class Hons), Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (1991-1995)

Dr Pip Nicholas-Davies

Research Associate / Associate Lecturer


Contact Details


I have a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a PhD in Plant Science (pasture ecology) from Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.  I worked in dairy research in New Zealand prior to taking up a fixed term research position with Aberystwyth University in 2001 working on a Defra funded organic dairy farming project.  After spending a year in Aberystwyth I decided to stay on at the University and develop my academic career in both research and teaching.  My early research and teaching focussed predominantly on organic livestock farming and I participated in a large number of European funded projects on organic farming policy and practice between 2002 and 2007 (see details in research section below).  In the last 10 years my research interests have broadened to include other types of sustainable farming systems including low input and mixed farming systems.  My research now focusses on the socio-economic aspects of sustainable farming, particularly the issues surrounding farmer decision making.  My undergraduate teaching includes livestock production systems for both first and second year students.



Additional Information

I have recently taken part in Aurora - a women-only leadership development initiative. It is a unique partnership initiative bringing together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector.  



Module Coordinator
Additional Lecturer

I am the Module Coordinator and Lecturer on four modules including Introduction to Livestock Production Systems at the first year Degree (BR11410) and Foundation Degree level (RD10810) and Livestock Production Systems at the second year Degree (BR20420) and Foundation Degree level (RD23420).

As well as my Undergraduate teaching, I also supervise internal and distance learning MRes students with current topics being supervised including:

  • Brazilian soybean growers perceptions of sustainable farming - their motivations and barriers to the use of biological pest control solutions and engage in IPM programs.
  • Policy support for sustainable farming: Case studies of sheep farming in Wales.
  • Investigation into farmer’s barriers and motivations to engage with agri-environment schemes, and preferences between different styles of payment for ecosystem service schemes (PESS).



My current research projects include:

SURE-Farm - Sustainable and Resilient European Farming Systems (EU Horizon 2020 funding - 2017-2020).  My role in the project, along with colleagues in the School of Business and Management, involves conducting narrative interviews with arable farmers from the East of England.  Narrative analysis enables researchers to gain an in depth understanding of the  rationale surrounding farmer decision making when faced with change, uncertainty and risk and how farmers manage critical decision points in their farming businesses.  This understanding is crucial for developing the tools and policy measures needed to support the UK agriculture sector going forward.  More information on broader project activities can be found at: http://surefarmproject.eu/ 

Recently complete projects include:

Sustainable Intensification Platform (SIP) - A Defra funded project completed in 2017.  IBERS lead the task which developed a proof of concept for a framework for developing guidance or decision support systems for integrated farm management to achieve the principles of sustainable intensification at the farm level.  For more information about the wide project visit http://siplatform.org.uk/.

Sustainable Organic and Low Input Dairying (SOLID) (FP7 Grant Agreement No. 266367, 2011-2016) - This project was coordinated by Aberystwyth University and I was the project manager and lead researcher on the socio-economic work package which focussed on the acceptability of innovations in organic and low input dairy systems. To access the findings of the project please visit http://www.solidairy.eu/ and http://farmadvice.solidairy.eu/

Crops and Animals together – CANTOGETHER (FP7 Grant Agreement No. 289328, 2012-2016) - I was the socio-economic work package leader for this European project which included work on barriers and enablers to taking up mixed farming practices and sustainability assessments of mixed farming systems across Europe. For more information visit CANTogether Project

Previous projects include:

  • Farm Scale Resource Use Efficiency Calculator. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB): (2013-2015)
  • TEAMPEST - Theoretical Developments and Empirical Measurement of the External Costs of Pesticides (Grant Agreement No. 212120, 2007-2010).
  • ANIPLAN – Minimising medicine use in organic dairy herds through animal health and welfare planning (CORE Organic, Defra OF0382, 2007-2010).
  • QLIF – Quality Low Input Food (Grant Agreement No. 506358, 2004-2009)
  • ORGAP – European Action Plan of Organic Food and Farming (Grant Agreement No.006591, 2005-2008)
  • EU-CEE-OFP – Further Development of Organic Farming Policy in Europe with particular emphasis on EU enlargement (Grant Agreement No. 67459, 2003-2006).
  • Modelling Organic Dairy Production Systems (Defra OF0146, 2001-2002).


I am a module coordinator for four undergraduate modules (see Teaching below) and am the IBERS lead on developing a teaching/research exchange relationship with Massey University, New Zealand.  In September 2018 I will also take up the four year post as External Examiner for the MSc Organic Farming taught by SRUC and awarded by the University of Glasgow.


Meuwissen, MPM, Feindt, PH, Spiegel, A, Termeer, CJAM, Mathijs, E, Mey, YD, Finger, R, Balmann, A, Wauters, E, Urquhart, J, Vigani, M, Zawalińska, K, Herrera, H, Nicholas-Davies, P, Hansson, H, Paas, W, Slijper, T, Coopmans, I, Vroege, W, Ciechomska, A, Accatino, F, Kopainsky, B, Pootvliet, PM, Candel, JJL, Maye, D, Severini, S, Senni, S, Soriano, B, Lagerkvist, C-J, Peneva, M, Gavrilescu, C & Reidsma, P 2019, 'A framework to assess the resilience of farming systems' Agricultural Systems, vol. 176, 102656. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.102656
Payne, S, Nicholas-Davies, P & Home, R 2019, 'Harnessing implemetation science and Self-Determination Theory in participatory research to advance global legume productivity' Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, vol. 3, 62, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00062
Rose, D, Sutherland, W, Borthwick, F, Ffoulkes, C, Hall, C, Moorby, J, Nicholas-Davies, P, Twining, S & Dicks, L 2019, 'Integrated farm management for sustainable agriculture: lessons for knowledge exchange and policy: lessons for knowledge exchange and policy' Land Use Policy, vol. 81, pp. 834-842. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.11.001
Naspetti, S, Mandolesi, S, Buysse, J, Latvala, T, Nicholas-Davies, P, Padel, S, Van Loo, E & Zanoli, R 2017, 'Determinants of the Acceptance of Sustainable Production Strategies in Conventional and Organic Dairying in Europe: An Empirical Analysis' Sustainability, vol. 9, no. 10, 1805. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101805
Scollan, N, Padel, S, Halberg, N, Hermansen, J, Nicholas-Davies, P, Rinne, M, Zanoli, R, Zollitsch, W & Lauwers, L 2017, 'Organic and Low-Input Dairy Farming: Avenues to Enhance Sustainability and Competitiveness in the EU' EuroChoices. https://doi.org/10.1111/1746-692X.12162
More publications on the Research Portal