Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Andrea Wilkinson

Research Associate in Global Challenges, UNSDGs and Small Island Developing States


Email: andrea.wilkinson@ncl.ac.uk

Address: Floor 4, Devonshire Building
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne


Andrea Wilkinson is a Research Associate for Newcastle University exploring ways in which the university can support DAC listed countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals with a particular focus on Small Island Developing States.

Andrea come's to academe after a diverse career of over 20 years conducting both academic and practitioner research in the field of sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurship, inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation. Completing a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Management at Northumbria University, a Masters in International Development at the University of Leeds, a Post Graduate Certificate in Research at Newcastle University and a PhD from Newcastle University. 

Andrea's PhD was collaborative with an industry partner and funded by the Economic Social Research Council. Her research examines climate change adaptation in Peru, investigating the ways in which smallholder coffee farmers participation in alternative trading networks shape their ability to adapt to climate change. The study draws upon Global Production Networks analytical framework in addition to bodies of knowledge in the arenas of climate change adaptation and private voluntary certification in order to  evaluate the power relations, knowledge and practices through which smallholder coffee farmers in Peru are adapting to challenges associated with climate change. 

Fundraising Success   

Andrea has extensive professional experience gained whilst working for and later managing a  successful International Development NGO, Shared Interest Foundation and over seven years experience of working as an International Development Consultant. Andrea has spent over 20 years conducting successful high quality research, which has resulted in her securing over £1 million of funding from Comic Relief (£502,000), The Big Lottery (£235,000) Fund and many smaller grant and trust giving bodies.

Throughout the last 20 years Andrea has spent significant periods of time working in sub-Saharan Africa including (Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Swaziland and South Africa), Central and South America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Peru) and Asia (India and Japan).


Current Research

- Small Island Developing States and their Economic Vulnerability 2019 - 2021

- Climate Change adaptation in the Caribbean (Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago) 2019 - 2021

- The changing livelihoods and identity of the Kenyan Maasai 2017 - 2020

- Coffee Leaf Rust - A climate change emergency 2019 - 2022


Past Research

- Smallholder coffee farmers participation in alternative trading networks and how it shapes their ability to adapt to climate change (2013 - 2019), Economic Social Research Council Funded, Collaborative with Twin Trading/ Sustainable Harvest.

- Inclusive economic growth in Africa (2018 - 2020), Newcastle Business School

- Cooperatives and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation in Rwanda (2019), funded by Cooperatives Europe, Cooperative College.

- Livelihood Security of Fairtrade farmers, Shared Interest


International Development Consultant

As an Associate for the Cooperative College Andrea conducts research primarily in Ethiopia and Rwanda on the role of cooperatives in peace building, sustainable livelihoods and entrepreneurship. Working with the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture Andrea together with a small team of consultants, researched and put together a proposal for a Cooperative Centre of Excellence and a national certification scheme in Ethiopia.

Andrea leads on the Cooperative College's four year capacity building project working with Tearfund Rwanda, supporting subsistence farmers to add value to their crops, securing their livelihoods and working their way out of poverty.

Andrea was also commissioned to conduct in-country research on behalf of Cooperatives Europe investigating the role of cooperatives in the peace and reconciliation process in Rwanda. Her case study now forms part of the Cooperatives and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation and Trust - A Case Study Approach publication - 2019. 


Advisory Roles

World Trade Organisation Committee on Trade and the Environment (WTO - CTE) Adviser - a supporting the work of the committee in matters pertaining to trade and the environment with  a specific focus on small island developing states. 

Cooperative College Academic Advisory Panel - 2018 - present - part of a small team of experts who are guiding the college to transition from College to University status. Andrea and her colleagues are currently drafting several modules for the colleges degree programme in International Development.



Research Interests

Andrea's main area of research is around women's empowerment, climate change, trade and poverty reduction. Her recent PhD thesis investigated the ways in which being embedded in an alternative global production network shaped smallholder coffee farmers ability to adapt to climate change. Exploring issues of knowledges, power and embeddedness.

In her current role as a Research Associate she is exploring how the university can support DAC listed countries pursue their Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean and enterprise in Africa. Her work is often collaborative with partner organisations including business, NGO's and governments with the aim of producing research with informs policy and creates positive change.

Other Expertise

Other areas of expertise include investigating the role of cooperatives in strengthening democracy, participation and trust within the Rwandan context. Andrea also conducts research regarding the inclusive economic growth in Africa, the African craft sector, entreprenuership, livelihoods and climate change adaptation.

Andrea has produced and delivered several adult education training packages including 'training of trainers' 'business planning' 'environmental management' and 'value addition' which are currently being develivered in both Rwanda and Zambia.


Research Roles

Global Challenges Academy

Global Challenges Academy Advisory Committee Member 

"Global Challenges Summit" Committee Member

Reviewer for "Progress in Human Geography" Journal



Current teaching

Guest Lecturer on the following modules for BA (Education):

EDU1002 - "Introduction to International Development"

EDU2008 - "Globalisation and Development"


Previous teaching

Guest Lecturer on the following modules:
GEO3061 : Ethno-development: Development with Identity

Teaching for BA (undergraduate) Geography

GEO1010 - Interconnected World

GEO2043 - Key Methods for Human Geographers

GEO1015 - Contemporary Human Geography




  • Wilkinson A. Climate change, regional development and business. In: Climate Change and Human Society Conference. 2020, Durham University. Submitted.
  • Wilkinson A. Coffee Production Networks – knowledge, power and embeddedness. Environment and Planning A 2020. In Preparation.
  • Wilkinson A. From bean to brew: how businesses react and adapt to climate change in Northern Peru. Journal of Business Ethics 2020. In Preparation.
  • Wilkinson A. Innovation and diversification – entrepreneurial responses to climate change. International Forum on Climate Change and Agribusiness. In: Adaptive Opportunities. 2020, Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru. Submitted.
  • Newbery R, Wilkinson A. Occupational Choice, islands of trust and changing identity amongst the Maasai. In: Symposium on ‘Peripheral Entrepreneurial Places’, Academy of Management. 2020, Boston, USA. Submitted.
  • Newbery R, Wilkinson A. Collective and entrepreneurial agency amongst the Maasai. In: European Rural Sociology Society Conference. 2019, Trondheim, Norway. Submitted.
  • Wilkinson A. Empowering minority groups affected by conflict: The role of women in peace processes - SDG 5 - Rwanda. In: Benson, A. et al, ed. Cooperatives and Peace: Strengthening Democracy, Participation and Trust. A Case Study Approach. Brussels, Belgium: Cooperatives Europe, 2019, pp.27-37.
  • Newbery R, Roderick S, Wilkinson A. Entrepreneurial Orientation in Smallholder Farms in Kenya: its relationship with performance in conditions of poverty. Submitted. Environment and Planning A 2019. In Preparation.
  • Newbery R, Roderick S, Wilkinson A. Entrepreneurial Orientation in Smallholder Farms in Kenya: its relationship with performance in conditions of poverty. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research 2018. Submitted.
  • Wilkinson A. Postcard from the field. In: Hammett, D; Twyman, C; Graham, M, ed. Research and Fieldwork in Development. London: Routledge, 2015, pp.10-11.
  • Wilkinson A. Business, security and climate change among the coffee growing community in Northern Peru. In: Climate Security Conference. 2014, Chamber of Commerce. Lima, Peru: British Embassy, Lima, Peru. Submitted.