IFSA 2020 Conference


Helena Freitas received her PhD in Ecology from the University of Coimbra, in collaboration with the University of Bielefeld, Germany, in 1993, and did postdoctoral studies at Stanford University, USA, between 1994 and 1996. She is Full Professor of Biodiversity and Ecology at the Department of Life Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra since 2003, and holds the UNESCO Chair in Biodiversity and Conservation for Sustainable Development since 2014. 

Helena Freitas joined the General Council of the University of Coimbra (2009-2011), was Director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra from 2004 to 2012, having prepared and coordinated her requalification program, President of the League for the Protection of Nature (1999 -2002), founder and President of the Portuguese Society of Ecology (2004-2013) and Vice-President of the European Society of Ecology (2009-2012). She is currently Coordinator of the Center for Functional Ecology – science for people and the planet, Scientific Coordinator of FitoLab – Phytosanitary Laboratory of the Pedro Nunes Institute, and is part of the Scientific Council of the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Coimbra. The scientific areas of specialty are related to: Ecology; Mediterranean Ecosystems; Forest and Agriculture; Ecology and Management of exotic and invasive species; Conservation of Nature, Biodiversity; Physiology of the tree; Diversity of Plants and Fungi; Tolerance to Stress and Bioremediation; Environmental policy; Bioenergy; Conservation of Nature; Microbial ecology; Ecology and Society.


Jules Pretty is Professor of Environment & Society at the University of Essex, formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor (2010-19). His sole-authored books include The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011, 2014), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995). He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and has served on advisory committees for BBSRC and the Royal Society. He was presenter of the 1999 BBC Radio 4 series Ploughing Eden, a contributor and writer for the 2001 BBC TV Correspondent programme The Magic Bean, and a panellist in 2007 for Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. He received a 1997 award from the Indian Ecological Society, was appointed A D White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University from 2001, and is Chief & Founding Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009, and the British Science Association Presidential Medal (Agriculture and Food) in 2015. This Luminous Coast was winner of New Angle Prize for Literature in 2013, and The East Country was winner of the East Anglian book of the year in 2018.


Available soon


Sergio Schneider is Full Professor of Sociology of Rural Development and Food Studies at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he teaches and research at the Graduate Program of Sociology (PPGS) and Rural Development (PGDR).

Since 2003 Sergio Schneider has a research scholarship from CNPq (National Council for Science and Technology) for high scientific productivity in social science research.

Sergio Schneider has a degree in Social Sciences (1990), and Master (1994) and PhD (1999) in Sociology. He was PhD visiting academic at LADYSS, Université Paris-X, Paris/France, with Hugues Lamarche (1997-1998). He also was Fellow and Academic Visitor Scholar at CPLAN, Cardiff University/Wales/UK (2007-2008), with Terry Marsden and Visiting Professor at Centre for Food Policy (CFP), City London Univesity, UK (2015-2016), with Tim Lang.

Since 1995, he work at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Department of Sociology, where he teaches courses on rural sociology, development sociology and sociology of food at Graduate Master and PhD level. His main research topics are food issues, rural development, food security, rural non-agricultural activities, family farming, territorial development and rural and food policies.

He coordinates 4 research projects and integrates the BICAS Initiative (Brics Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies), and also work with China Agricultural University and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) scholars.

He has published 3 books and organized another 8 in collections, and publish 90 chapters of books, 151 articles in scientific journal and 83 papers presents annals of congresses. He was the supervisor of 7 post-doc and another 50 graduate students, of which 23 PhDs and 27 master’s dissertations, as well as 13 undergraduate students and 9 undergraduate monographs. He has received 8 awards, including the FAPERGS Highlight Research Prize in Sociology of Rio Grande do Sul (2017).

Sergio Schneider is currently deputy President of the International Rural Sociology Association (IRSA) and was president of SOBER (2011-2013), the Brazilian Society of Economics, Sociology and Rural Administration and Vice President of ALASRU (2014-2018), the Latin American Association of Rural Sociology). He acts as a reviewer of scientific journals in Brazil and abroad. He is a consultant to national and international organizations on rural development, agriculture and food (FAO, WHO, IFAD, IICA, WHO, CIRAD, European Union).