Richard Longhurst trained as an agricultural economist at London and Cornell Universities. This started a long standing interest in food policy, nutrition and development and after two years at the World Bank on nutrition policy, completed a doctorate in development economics at Sussex University in 1980 with field work in northern Nigeria, studying the dynamics of the family farm operation, household allocation of labour and child malnutrition.

Thereafter he worked for FAO and the Ford Foundation and as a freelance consultant on agriculture, rural development, child health and humanitarian programmes until the mid 1990s. He then became a manager and implementer of evaluation studies at the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Labor Office.

Evaluation work took him into a broader range of issues including aid policy, UN reform, gender, child labour, and mainstreaming human rights and performance management and measurement, leaving him with a realistic approach to the results based agenda in various thematic areas. He has also worked as a consultant for international organisations, being DFID, IFAD, IMO, UNAIDS, UNCTAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO.

More by accident than design he has divided appointments between international organisations and universities including the Centre for International Child Health at London University and two periods at the IDS, where he has now works as a Research Associate. This has enabled him to integrate agency experience and policy with research in several areas.

At IDS he has been a core team member of the IDS project on Agricultural Learning and Impacts Network (ALINe) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helping further his interests in evaluation methodology, a member of the 'Seasonality Revisited' research team, re-engaged with his earlier work on policy approaches to eradicating child under nutrition, and advising ILO and UNAIDS on the implementation of external organisational evaluations. He also worked as a manager of global and country evaluations in ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). Between 2001 and 2009 he was the Chair of the IDS Alumni Association.

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