Navin Ramankutty

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not looking for graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows. Please do not contact the faculty member with any such requests.


Research Interests

Climate Changes and Impacts
Climate impacts
Environment and Society
Global food security
Land use change
Sustainable agriculture

Relevant Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.

Research Methodology

Geospatial analysis
Earth observations
Global data development

Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.


Supervisor appreciation week @UBC! Shoutout to @NRamankutty and @mKandlikar. Extremely proud and blessed to have not one, but TWO super supervisors. Awe-inspiringly smart giants whose shoulders I stand on. @ubcires @ubcSPPGA #GreatSupervisor


I'm one lucky #phd student to have TWO amazing supervisors who are equally kind, fiercely intelligent AND fun. @NRamankutty @HWittmanUBC my only complaint is how much you debate when we meet (just kidding, it’s great) #DoubleTrouble #greatsupervisor @IRES_UBC @ubcfarm @LiuInstituteUBC


Couldn't have said it better. @NRamankutty has been the best mentor I could ever have wished for (in addition to simply being one of the best human beings I have ever met). #GreatSupervisor #SupervisorAppreciationWeek


I could not ask for a better supervisor than @NRamankutty at @IRES_UBC. Extremely approachable and knowledgeable. Encourages us to venture out of our comfort zones. Most importantly, one of the nicest and kindest people I know. #GreatSupervisor #UBC #SupervisorAppreciationWeek


A little late on this, but I have to express my gratitude to Dr. Navin Ramankutty. He is a leader in thoughtful and aggressive inquisitiveness, as well as consideration and mindfulness of others. These values aren't easily communicable, but Navin seamlessly integrates them into his students' learning through their obvious and deliberate application to both his personal and professional endeavors.

Kalifi (2017)


My supervisor is great because he: (1) Cares about the wellbeing of his students, (2) always keeps a good sense of humor, (3) has high expectations of his students, (4) helps achieve those expectations by providing creative, timely and thoughtful feedback, (5) manages to be on top of every academic and teaching responsibility while at the same time taking care of a happy family, and (6) most importantly, he leads by example. Professor Ramankutty is a #GreatSupervisor.

Juan Diego Martinez (2017)


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2021)
The role of small-scale farms in the global food system (2019)

Farms are becoming larger in high-income countries and smaller and more fragmented in low-income countries. This farm size transition has motivated recent international policy calls to combat inequities in the global food system and to promote more environmentally friendly production practices. This dissertation seeks to understand the impact of this transition on global food production, on the environment, and on small-scale farmers’ livelihoods. Each chapter aims to examine the underlying assumptions of these policy calls by testing the relationship between small-scale farms and key socio-ecological outcomes. Through creating a harmonized dataset across 55 countries, Chapter 2 estimates that 30-34% of the world’s food is produced by farms under 2 hectares in size and smaller farms producer a greater diversity of crop species than larger farms. Chapter 3’s meta-analysis synthesizes the past 50 years of empirical evidence on the relationships between farm size and several socio-ecological outcomes of farming systems (i.e., yield, biodiversity, resource-use efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and profitability). We found that smaller farms have higher yields and promote more non-crop biodiversity (across species at the farm and landscape scales) than larger farms. We found no relationship between farm size and resource-use efficiency, but smaller farms had a non-significant trend to lower greenhouse gas emissions per crop output than larger farms. Chapter 4 builds on this meta-analysis to investigate the relationship between farm size, productivity, and income using harmonized national sample surveys from 34 countries across the Global South. Our results highlight that while smaller farms are more productive than larger farms, they have lower per capita incomes. Critically, we also found that the current internationally agreed upon target of doubling small-scale farmer incomes is not aggressive enough to transition them out of poverty. Chapter 5 outlines pathways for the international community to identify and monitor small-scale food producers, which is a central hurdle to ensure governments keep their agreed upon commitments to support small-scale farmers. This dissertation makes several empirical contributions to the literature on the contribution of small farms to the global food system, and can help inform policy initiatives aimed to support small-scale farmers.

View record

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
Evaluating uncertainty in tropical forest loss between 1990 and 2010: an inter-comparison of different data sets (2018)

No abstract available.

Recent Tri-Agency Grants

The following is a selection of grants for which the faculty member was principal investigator or co-investigator. Currently, the list only covers Canadian Tri-Agency grants from years 2013/14-2016/17 and excludes grants from any other agencies.

  • The role of small farms in global food security and sustainability - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Insight Grants (2015/2016)
  • Estimating crop calendar using satellites and crop model - Maintenance Allowance - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - JSPS Invitation Fellowship Programs (2015/2016)
  • Agricultural land use and its earth system implications - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Discovery Grants Program - Individual (2015/2016)
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in global environmental change and food security - Dr. Navin Ramankutty - Canada Research Chairs - Canada Research Chair Tier I (NSERC) (2014/2015)

News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.



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