Jules Pretty portraitProfessor Jules Pretty OBE is an author and academic whose work focuses on sustainable agriculture and the relations between people and the land. He is based on the Essex and Suffolk border in England, living in the Suffolk wool village of Nayland and working at the University of Essex in Colchester. Jules was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture.

Jules writes on the importance and relevance of nature for people. His most recent book, This Luminous Coast, won the New Angle Prize for Literature and the East Anglian Book of the Year award.

At the University of Essex, Jules is Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He is a member of the Green Exercise research team and his research focus is on green exercise, nature and health. His 2010 papers Dose of Nature (.pdf, jointly written with Dr Jo Barton) and Top 100 Questions for Agriculture and Food (.pdf, Pretty et al) received considerable coverage worldwide.

Jules is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts. He is a former Deputy-Chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment and served on advisory committees for a number of government departments and research councils. He was also a member of two Royal Society working groups that published Reaping the Benefits (2009) and People and the Planet (2012), and was a member of the UK government Foresight project on Global Food and Farming Futures (2011).


  • OBE for “services to sustainable agriculture in the UK and overseas” (2006)
  • Honorary Degree, OhioStateUniversity (2009)
  • Indian Ecological Society and Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (November 1997): for “International Contributions to Sustainable and Ecological Agriculture”.
  • Runner-up for the 2002 European Sicco Mansholt Prize for agricultural science.
  • Agri-Culture book short-listed for 2004 World Hunger Year Harry Chapin Media Awards, USA (March 2004)
  • This Luminous Coast, East Anglian nature book of the year (Nov 2011)
  • This Luminous Coast, short-listed for Writers Guild non-fiction book of the year (Nov 2011)
  • This Luminous Coast, winner New Angle Literary Prize (Sept 2013)

Memberships, appointments and boards

  • Institute of Biology: Fellow (2003- ) FIBiol; Member (1986- ); 2009 Society of Biology (FSB)
  • Freeman of City of London (1988- )
  • British Agricultural History Society (1989- ), Suffolk Records Society (1989- )
  • Advisory Board, Rural History Centre, University of Reading (1993-96)
  • Neighbourhood Think Tank, London (1993-99), Agricultural Reform Group, London (1993- )
  • Editorial Boards: Agriculture and Human Values (1995- ), World Development (1995- ), International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology (1999- ), Society and Ecology (2005- )
  • Trustee: Farmers World Network (1997-01) and The Pesticides Action Network (1997-01)
  • External Adviser, Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Steering Group (1998- )
  • Member of European Landowners Policy Group, chaired by HRH Prince Lorenz of Belgium (1998- 01)
  • Deputy Chair, UK Govt’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) (1999-2009)
  • Chair, Colchester Anti-Poverty Forum (2000-02)
  • A D White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University, USA (2001-2007)
  • Chief Editor, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (2002- )
  • Member of UN FAO steering committee on Land Degradation and Assessment (2002-04)
  • Working Group on CGIAR Science Council (2002-03) & Selection Panel for members of Science Panel (2003, 2004, 2006)
  • Member of International Jury for the Slow Food Award (2002- )
  • Member of UK government’s GM Science Panel (2002-04)
  • Member of English Nature’s Social & Econ Advisory Gp (2003-06); member of Natural England’s Science Council (2007- )
  • Member of International Advisory Committee, College of Humanities & Devt, China Agric. Univ, Beijing (2003-2007)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (Jan 04). FRSA
  • Member of Faculty of Agricultural Sciences Advisory Council, Univ of British Colombia (2004-2006)
  • Member of HEFCE 2008 RAE Sub-Panel 16 (2005-2008)
  • Trustee of Essex Wildlife Trust (2005-2009)
  • Trustee of Operation Wallacea Trust (2005-2009)
  • Member of University of Essex Council (2005-08)
  • Member of Swiss National Science Foundation Expert Panel NRP 59 (2006-11)
  • Member of Lead Expert Group of Foresight Project Food and Farming Futures (2008-11)
  • Member of Royal Society commission on Biological Approaches to Improving Crop Production (2008-09)
  • Chairman of Essex Rural Commission (2008-10)
  • Member of Expert Panel for UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2009-11)
  • Member of GFAR Expert Group for GCARD (2009-10)
  • Member of Royal Society commission People and the Planet (2010-2012)
  • Member of BBSRC Strategy Advisory Board (2009-2011), then member of Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel (2011- )

Further Appointments

  • Visiting Professor, University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna (1999)
  • A D White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University, USA (2001-2007)
  • Nat C Robertson Visiting Professor, EmoryUniversity, Atlanta (2007)
  • Vice President, Suffolk ACRE (2009 – )
  • Vice President, Essex Wildlife Trust (2009 – )
  • Vice President, Rural Community Council of Essex (2010 – )


  • Regular contributions to local and national BBC and World Service radio networks (e.g. BBC Essex, BBC Suffolk, Radio 4 Food Programme, R4 Today Programme, R4 Costing the Earth, R4 Open Country), and occasional contributions to radio and written media overseas (eg Australia, S Korea), and contributor of regular columns for Australian Farm Journal (2003-08) and Resurgence (2003-08), Farming Magazine of Ohio (2011 – ).
  • Occasional contributor to television documentaries and news (BBC1, BBC East, BBC South, Border TV), and to written news media and magazines
  • Presenter and writer of two-part radio series “Ploughing Eden” for BBC Radio 4 (August 1999).
  • Co-writer and presenter in BBC TV Correspondent Series The Magic Bean (June 2001)
  • Opening speech to Magnum Photographers exhibition, SOAS gallery (April 2002).
  • Panellist for The Moral Maze (2007)

Public Speaking

Some 420 invited public speaking engagements for international and national conferences, universities, government agencies and local groups between 1995-2013 (total audience of ~16,000 people).

PhD Supervision

PhD students: Univ. of Essex (1999 – Zareen Bharucha, Ambra Sedlmayr, Paul Igboji, Rachel Hine, Jo Barton, Sarah Pilgrim, Stephanie Williamson, Darko Znaor, Indra Candanedo Diaz, Jilly Hall, Suresh Sahu, Rakhi Mahmoud, Marion Ericsson, Nolan, Rachel Bragg), Imperial College (1992-98; n=2); Univ. of Hohenheim (1994-97, n=1)

Masters students: Univ. of Essex (1998-2008), Imperial College (1989-96), Univ Reading (1994)

External Examinerships

External Examiner: Imperial College (then Wye College) Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (1998-02); University of Reading Masters in Agriculture and Environment (1999-2003); External Examiner, University of Cambridge MPhil in Development Studies (2001-2004)

External Validation of Wye College new Masters degrees (1999)

External examiner of PhD students at Univ Wales, Bangor (2); Univ Reading (5); Charles Sturt Univ, Australia (1); Univ College, London (2); Oxford Brookes Univ (1); Univ Hull (2); Univ Salford (1); Univ East Anglia (2); Imperial College (2); Cranfield Univ (1); Univ Kent (1); Univ College Dublin (1), Univ Wageningen (2); Australian National Univ (1); Univ Cambridge (1); Univ Queensland (1), Griffith University Aus (1); Univ British Columbia (1). MPhil student – UMIST (1).

Citations and Research Impact (as at July 2013)

Web of Science

  • Citations: 3,410
  • H-index: 26
  • Mean citations per paper: 39

Google Scholar

  • Citations (all): 17,117
  • Citations (since 2008): 9,535
  • H-index (total): 57
  • H-index (since 2008): 45