International Trade Select Committee appoints N8 AgriFood Chair as new Parliamentary Academic Fellow

The House of Commons International Trade Committee has appointed N8 AgriFood’s Chair at the University of York, Professor Tony Heron, as its new Parliamentary Academic Fellow.

For the next two years, Professor Heron will spend two days per week working in Parliament with the International Trade Select Committee, which is tasked by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for International Trade (DIT) and its associated public bodies.

The appointment comes as DIT moves towards the establishment and implementation of independent trade policies post Brexit, including future trade negotiations.

Professor Heron, who is a Professor of International Political Economy, said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to bring my knowledge and expertise to bear on UK trade policy-making and to strengthen the capacity of the University of York in knowledge exchange, practitioner engagement and impact.

“The challenges facing the UK are without precedent, as it seeks to negotiate a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the EU, outside of both the Single Market and Customs Union, while simultaneously establishing closer economic ties with external trade partners, including the USA, in the Commonwealth, Asia and Latin America.”

Professor Heron’s recent research has centred on interdisciplinary global food systems research, global value chains and the political economy of agriculture in the context of Brexit.

Professor Heron’s new role as Parliamentary Academic Fellow will see him work to improve the International Trade Committee’s ability to fulfill its scrutiny functions. Using his knowledge of the international trade environment and related policy, he is charged with supporting the ongoing work programme; producing and reviewing written briefing materials, providing oral briefing and training to the Committee and its staff, advising on potential lines of inquiry and the selection of expert witnesses, and assisting in the production of official Committee outputs such as correspondence and reports.

Professor Heron sits on the N8 AgriFood board the University of York alongside Professor Bob Doherty, who is one of six academic fellows working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on its Systems Research Programme.