Dr. Meredith Niles is an assistant professor in the Food Systems program and the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont. She completed her BA in politics with honors in environmental studies at The Catholic University of America, a PhD in Ecology at the University of California at Davis and was a post-doctorate fellow in Sustainability Science at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Meredith thrives conducting applied research that can help bring together diverse stakeholders- whether on a farm or working with policymakers- to help solve pressing problems facing our world's food system. Meredith’s work focuses on food systems, health and environment specifically climate change and food security and farmer’s adoption and perceptions of sustainable practices and policies. She has studied how farmers perceive and respond to climate change and climate policies, farmer adoption of adaptation and mitigation practices, and how smallholder farmers in the developing world are being affected by climate change and its influence on food security. Currently she has a number of ongoing research projects related to food systems, health and environment from the perspective of people, behavior and policy.
Prior to her academic career, Meredith worked for the United States Department of State in HIV/AIDS public health and for several non-profit organizations. She has also worked in various consulting projects for farmer organizations, the food industry, and non-profit groups, most recently examining potential agricultural carbon offset markets for reduced fertilizer use.
Meredith is a passionate advocate for open access research to make research more publicly available to maximize the potential of science and its benefits for society. To help realize this goal she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific publishers.
Meredith has received notable honors including the Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (2010), Board Member of the Year from the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (2013), and the Next Generation Leadership Award from the Right to Research Coalition.