Visiting Professor – University of Florence

Today, I began a summer position as a visiting professor in the Department of Economics and Management at the University of Florence. During my time here I will deliver seminars on inclusive economics and Multiple Use Water Services (MUS), engage in a two-day workshop on Behavioural Ecological Economics (at the University of Florence), co-teach a summer school on Leveraging Ecological Economics to Advance the Sustainability Transition (at the University of Pisa), and co-teach a Hiking Ecological Economics Summer School (in the Apuan Alps). I’m looking forward to meeting over 100 students from across the EU, US, and beyond who have enrolled in the above activities.

Recording of VT Food, Housing, and Well-being Presentation

The recording of our presentation on Addressing Food, Housing, and Well-being at Virginia Tech: Results from the 2019 & 2021 Survey to the VT Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, can now be accessed here.

Food, Housing, and Well-bing at Virginia Tech

On Wednesday, April 26, at 3:30pm, please join Dr. Jessica Agnew and I to learn about the results from our 2019 and 2021 food access and well-being studies at Virginia Tech. The report from our 2019 study can be accessed here. We will provide a brief summary of the 2019 results and then share the findings from the 2021 study. We will also discuss the events that led to the creation of The Market of Virginia Tech and will outline the future research that is underway.

2023 Study Abroad Program

The three main components of our 2023 study abroad program in Italy are now open for any student to apply. Virginia Tech students who are accepted into the VT program will be automatically enrolled into each part of the program.

VT Students: The application portal will remain open for the next week, so please apply this week if you would like to be considered for the program. Please also make sure you apply for a GEO Scholarship (due March 15th).

Non-VT/International Students: I hope you will considered applying to one or more parts of the program via the links below. In 2022, we had over 20 countries represented in the Pisa summer school that hosted around 40 students. It was a really engaging and culturally rich experience for everyone involved in the program.

Get Out There with SPIA – Slides & Recordings

Please find below links to the 3-minute presentations given during the “Get Out There with SPIA” event held on February 10. The slides from the event can be accessed here

If you have any questions about a specific program/course, please reach out to the lead faculty member(s) listed below. The first two summer programs have an application deadline of February 15, so please apply before then if you would like to be considered for one of these. 

Washington, D.C. Semester, Leadership through Policy & Governance (WSLG) (Summer) & U.S. Congressional Oversight in Action (Winter)

Study Abroad in Italy (Florence, Pisa, and the Apuan Alps), Sustainable Transitions in Employment, Economic Welfare, and the Environment (Summer)

Support Provided by the VT Global Education Office

Washington, D.C. Semester in Global Engagement (WSGE) (Fall and Spring)

UAP 2004 Real Estate (Summer, online course)

SPIA 2005, 2006, & 2014 Urban Analytics (Summer, online course)

Homeland Security Policy (HSP) Graduate Certificate (open to seniors) (Video)

Study Abroad, Sustainable Policy Making & Planning in Europe (Summer)

  • The 2023 program is full. If you are interested in the 2024 program, please make sure you apply early in the fall semester. 
  • Contacts: Ralph Buehler, ralphbu@vt.edu; Todd Schenk, tschenk@vt.edu

Get Out There with SPIA!

VT undergraduate and graduate students, please join us (in room 111, Architecture Annex or via zoom) on Friday, February 10 at 12pm to learn more about SPIA’s off campus and summer opportunities

During the event, faculty will give 3-minute presentations on their programs/courses to provide a broad overview of the full range of unique opportunities available to students.

SPIA Seminar (9/16, 12-1pm)

What is the relationship between climate change and increasing inequality? How can a different paradigm and representation of the world help advance a more sustainable future?

In this seminar, Dr. Tiziano Distefano (an Assistant Professor at the University of Florence) will explore how Ecological Macroeconomics (EM) and Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) can be used to merge diverse knowledge, data, and methodologies to address complex environmental problems and their connections with the socio-economic system. Dr. Distefano will present his EM-IAM research focused on Italy and France, and will discuss how this analysis approach could be applied to the US.

When: September 16, 12-1pm (EST)

Location: Room 111, Architecture Annex

Zoom: Register here

USAID LASER PULSE Policy/Product Briefs

The final policy and product briefs from our USAID LASER PULSE project entilted “Exploring the Use of Blockchain Technology to Promote the Production and Consumption of African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya” are now available.

Agnew, J., & Hall, R. P. (2022). Policy Brief: Research evidence of the impacts of blockchain technology on improving food security through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya. USAID LASER PULSE, 4 pages. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/111580
Agnew, J., Hall, R. P., & Kristofikova, N. (2022). Product Brief: Linking the AgUnity Blockchain-based Platform to the Kenyan Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy. USAID LASER PULSE, 4 pages, 4 pages. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/111581

Final LASER-PULSE Report – Impact of Blockchain Technology on Food Insecurity through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya

The final (peer-reviewed) report from our USAID LASER PULSE project on how blockchain technology impacts food security through African indigenous vegetables in Western Kenya is now available.

This study is one of the first to explore how blockchain technology (BCT) could be used to improve food security in communities that are reliant on agriculture but are the last to receive services or access to markets, known as the ‘last-mile’. The goal was to determine how BCT could contribute to improving the income of African indigenous vegetable (AIV) value chain actors (e.g., producers, traders, and retailers) and to the affordability, availability, and accessibility of nutritious foods like AIVs for consumers. It finds that BCT can simultaneously strengthen the functionality of an entire agri-food value chain by increasing the efficiency of transactions among value chain actors, improving cooperation along the value chain, and enhancing access to information. A decrease in post-harvest loss, reduction in negotiation and search costs, and traceability of Grade A vegetables were facilitated by the blockchain functionality of the AgUnity V3 SuperApp. Producer income was improved by better meeting market demand, time savings on AIV activities, increasing the supply of Grade A vegetables, and making information on the vegetables more available to consumers. Increased incomes led to improved food security among producers by facilitating their ability to procure more food, especially higher quality proteins and fruits. Participants and consumers reported an increase in the consumption of AIVs over the study period because of increased quality, availability, and awareness of their nutritional importance.