School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Sally Shortall

Duke of Northumberland Professor of Rural Economy


Professor Sally Shortall is the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy, in Newcastle University. Her main research interests are the role of women on farms and in rural development, rural development policy more generally, social changes in farming practice and the links between evidence and policy. She has published widely on these topics, including books, peer reviewed journal articles, and policy reports. She is currently president of the European Society for Rural Sociology, and First Vice-President of the International Rural Sociology Association. Sally Shortall has worked with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). She is currently the PI conducting research on women in agriculture in Scotland with colleagues from the James Hutton Institute. This research is funded by the Scottish Government; She is also PI on an ESRC funded project whicht explores and addresses the regional impacts in Northern Ireland of the global energy-climate-food security nexus. The focus is primarily on global energy availability and climate change and their impacts on regional food security; and she is working with colleagues in the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast on research to establish how best to implement rural proofing measures, and to identify best practice and barriers to best practice.

Some examples of academic activities:

  • Elected First Vice-President of the International Rural Sociology Association, 2016-2020
  • Elected President of the European Society for Rural Sociology. 2015-2017, re-elected 2017-2019
  • Appointed assessor for the Swedish Research Council, 2016-2019
  • Appointed assessor for the European Commission 2016-2019
  • Lead author on ‘Empowering or marginalising farm women – the role of gender specific farming organisations’ shortlisted for the UNU-WIDER and University of Namur project on ‘Gender and Development’. September 2015.
  • Awarded the University of Monash, Melbourne, Faculty of Medicine Granger & Cottman Endowment Fund to spend a month in Monash University to do research on rural proofing and to provide briefing papers for the Department of Primary Industries, Australia. 2015. Competitive award.
  • Elected to the Economic and Social Research Institute’s (ESRI) Council. 2015-2019
  • Appointed expert panel member advising Action for Rural Communities England (ACRE) on their rural village SOS programme. 2015-2016.
  • Appointed to the UK Heads and Professors of Sociology (HAPS) Committee. 2015-2018.
  • Appointed chair of the UK Food Standards Agency’s Social Science Research Committee’s Strategy Sub-Group 2015-2017
  • Appointed external assessor to the Research Council of Norway on their interdisciplinary research programme BIONAR (bio-economy) 2014 and 2015.
  • Commissioned to prepare briefing information for government departments of the Western Balkans on EU protected foods and how to obtain protected food name status.  European Commission 2014.
  • Elected to the Executive Committee of the European Society for Rural Sociology. 2013.
  • Established six European Research Working Groups affiliated to the European Society for Rural Sociology. 2013.
  • Appointed chair of the UK Food Standards Agency’s Social Science Research Committee’s sub-group on Diet and Nutrition in Scotland and Northern Ireland 2013-2015
  • Appointed as an expert adviser to the OECD rural-urban partnerships study (conducted four case study visits, and wrote the Spanish case study for the final report). 2012-2013.
  • Commissioned to prepare briefing information for government departments of the Western Balkans on EU rural development programmes and women. European Commission 2010 and 2011.
  • Commissioned to prepare briefing paper for the European Parliament to inform the redesign of the Rural Development Regulation post 2013. Commissioned in 2010.
  • Established the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series with the devolved government of Northern Ireland to make research more accessible and useful to policy 2011
  • Appointed as a member of the UK Food Standards Agency’s Social Science Research Committee 2011
  • Appointed Fellow of the ESRC Peer Review College. 2010
  • Invited to give keynote address in Melbourne The changing role of women in the global dairy industry, where’s our future? Invitation from Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, in conjunction with Genetics Australia. 2010
  • Economic and Social Research Council Knowledge Transfer Research Fellow, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Northern Ireland 2008-2009
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Polson Institute of Global Development, Cornell University, USA 2008
  • Visiting Research Fellow, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, USA 2008
  • Invited by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the UN and the Norwegian Government to investigate gender disaggregated agricultural statistics in Western Europe, Norway, 2006
  • Invited to be an Evaluation Expert for the European Science Foundation’s EuroDIVERSITY research programme, Strasbourg, France, 2005
  • Invited by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations to prepare and present the Western European case study for their 2002 meeting. Women, agriculture and rural development. Fribourg, Switzerland, October 2002.


Selected recent research grants:
  • Shortall, S. (2017). Changing the ground rules? Inclusive debates about women in Scottish agriculture. ESRC Impact Acceleration. 

  • Shortall, S., Frewer, L., Whittingham, M.J., Lietz, G. and A.M. Gatehouse. (2017). Developing a strategic research agenda to promote agri-technology in Tanzania. N8 Internal Research Pump Priming

  • Shortall, S. (2016) The energy-climate-food security nexus: developing a multi-stakeholder deliberative governance model in Northern Ireland. Economic and Social Research Council

  • Shortall, S. (2016) Women and agriculture in Scotland. Scottish Government.

  • Shortall, S. (2015) A conceptual review of rural proofing and the rural champion in Northern Ireland. Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland.

  • Shortall, S. (2014) Improving Barnardo’s provision of services for rural families of primary school children. Barnardo’s Northern Ireland.

  • Shortall, S. (2012) Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, Census Data and Disability Research. Office of the First Minister, and Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland.

  • Shortall, S. (2012) Gender Mainstreaming the Rural Development Programme. Economic and Social Research Council. ESRC RES/J010316/1

  • Shortall, S. (2008) Economic and Social Research Council Placement Fellow with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland ESRC RES-173-27-0096

  • Shortall, S. (2008) Older People for Older People (Northern Periphery Programme, INTERREG).

  • Shortall, S and European Colleagues (2005) European Food Systems in a Changing World. (European Science Foundation/ COST)

  • Shortall, S (2004) Public attitudes to the countryside in Northern Ireland. Economic and Social Research Council/ Ulster Farmers’ Union

  • Shortall, S. and S. Porter (2004) Occupational Health and Safety on Farms in the Armagh and Dungannon Region. Armagh and Dungannon Health Action Zone, and the Health and Safety Executive

  • Shortall, S. (2003) Workshop on the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme. Economic and Social Research Council.

  • Shortall, S. (2000) Gender Proofing CAP Reforms (Peace and Reconciliation Programme) January 2000-July 2001

  • Shortall, S (1998) Social Exclusion in Rural Areas. £57,000 (European Union LEADER Programme). 1998-2002

  • Shortall, S. (1998) Social Exclusion in Rural Areas, (European Union LEADER Programme). This research was part of a programme of research undertaken by the former Queen’s Centre for Rural Studies.


Teaching Awards:

  • Shortall, S. (2011): Funding for Innovative Teaching for the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. Queen's University Belfast Annual Fund.

  • Shortall, S. (2005): Learning to write: Communicating post-graduate research to academic, policy and practitioner audiences. Teaching Quality Enhancement Award

Areas of Teaching Competence:

  • Rural Sociology

  • Sociology of Work

  • Industrial Sociology

  • Community Development/ Community Studies

  • Sociology of Organisations

  • Introduction to Sociology

  • Gender Studies

    PhD Supervision to completion:

    • Robertson, Arlene. Migrant labour in food processing industries in Northern Ireland. 2012- 2015. DARD funded.

    • Braunholtz-Speight, Tim. Community, power and land reform in Scotland. Registered with the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland. Defended December 2015, minor revisions. Funded by the University of the Highlands and Islands.  

    • Mason, Karla. Civilised Spaces, Healthy Bodies, Hygienic Souls: Pursuing Purification at the Animal-Human Interface. Completed 2013. DEL funded, with support from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.

    • McVay, Lori. Leadership and rural women: barriers and enablers. Completed 2011. American student, self-funded.

    • Ni Dhonaill, Caoimhe. Ageing in rural societies: a comparison of Northern Ireland and Zambia. Completed 2012. Funded by the Changing Ageing Partnership.

    • Roginsky, Sandrine. The Third Sector and Social Change: Comparing Women's Organisations in Northern Ireland and Ile-de-France. Completed 2006. French student. Funded by the Royal Irish

      External examining

      • BA and MA Sociology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. 2016-2019
      • BA Sociology and MA Criminology, Bangor University, Wales. 2010-2013
      • BA and MA Sociology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland 2010-2013
      • BSC Rural Development, National University of Ireland 2004-2007
      • Senior External Examiner, University of the Highlands and Islands, Rural Studies Degree, Scotland (1999-2002)
      • External expert evaluating the syllabus of the Rural Studies Degree for the University of the Highlands and Islands, May/ June 1999

      External examiner for PhD Candidates

      • University College Dublin, Ireland, 2014; Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2014; University of South Australia, 2013; Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2013; Newcastle University, England, 2012; University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, 2011; University of Durham, England 2008; University of New England, Australia, 2008; Charles Sturt University, Wagga, Australia, 2007; Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 2006; University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, England 2005;  Glasgow University, 2004; University of Manchester, England 2004; National University of Ireland 2004; Manchester University, 2000; University of New South Wales, Australia, 1993.