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Geography and Environmental Science

Dr Matt Kandel PhD, BA

Research Fellow in Environmental Anthropology

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I am a Research Fellow in Environmental Anthropology for the UK Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) project, Building REsearch Capacity for sustainable water and food security In the drylands of sub-saharan Africa (BRECcIA).  BRECcIA is led by the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences and consists of partner institutions in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi as well as regional-level research institutes and UNESCO. BRECcIA takes a transdisciplinary approach to addressing challenges around water/food security as well as seeks to strengthen existing research capabilities in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya.

For BRECcIA I am leading a community-based research and research capacity strengthening project in Upper East region of Ghana and Kitui County in Kenya. We are using participatory and ethnographic research approaches to investigate how people anticipate and experience the benefits, costs, and risks of ecological restoration interventions as well as how people perceive and understand restoration more generally.  We are currently developing outputs that aim to effectively communicate a) how social inequities emerge across multiple spatial and temporal scales in contexts of ecological restoration b) why this matters for achieving development and environmental impact, and c) how implementing organizations, donors, and governments can most effectively address and prevent social inequities. As part of our in-country engagements I am leading facilitation of participatory research skills training workshops which involve undergraduate students, graduate students, and stakeholders from government and NGOs. In addition to working in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi, I have conducted long-term fieldwork in northeastern Uganda on land tenure, conflict, and agrarian change. 

As a social scientist who is interested in transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations, I am very motivated by the policy and applied dimensions of my work. I am always keen to discuss potential collaborations with researchers and practitioners alike. 


PhD in Anthropology (Graduate Center, City University of New York)

BA (Fordham University)

Research interests

Land tenure and property rights, natural resource governance, livelihoods, and the social and equity dimensions to ecological restoration.


Research group

Environmental Change and Sustainability (ECaS)

Dr Matt Kandel
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

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