How can I help you?

I specialise in complex scientific and technological challenges at the intersection of food, environment and public health policies. I provide technical advice, research services, and project support.

My approach to the projects I work on is collaborative, which I believe will produce the best possible results. As an independent researcher I have a high degree of flexibility to provide you with results you need.

I can help you in the design and delivery of a research programme tailored to your needs and interests. I am a qualitative researcher by training and have led many mixed-methods projects that integrate quantitative and qualitative methods. I also design and deliver technical studies, foresight studies, and evaluations and impact assessments of programmes and policies.

I can provide leadership, management and coordination of your team-based research projects or individual support as an expert advisor. My support can range from involvement in studies of a year or more to inputs lasting just a few days.

Get in touch to find out how we can work together.

elta smith
elta smith
food safety

Food systems, food safety & food security

I have experience in the following areas:

  • Food systems surveillance and monitoring
  • Traceability in the food supply chain, including official controls
  • Risk assessments for food safety
  • Food fraud
  • Plant biotechnologies and digital sequence information for agricultural development
  • Emerging technologies for food production, manufacturing and distribution
  • Plant variety rights, patents and database rights
  • Organic food standards
  • Animal welfare
  • Consumer awareness of and behaviour related to food labels

Health systems, public health & health security

I have experience in the following areas:

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Global health security
  • Emerging science and technologies for human health
  • Health systems surveillance and monitoring
  • Medicines regulation
  • Disease-specific studies
public health

Environment, Biodiversity & Climate Change

I have experience in the following areas:

  • Global governance for the protection of biodiversity and to address the impacts from climate change and persistent organic pollutants
  • Use and management of plant genetic resources
  • Emerging science and technologies to address climate change impacts related to food systems (e.g. data science, lasers, sensors)
  • Voluntary agreements for the sustainable use of natural resources
  • Better Regulation approaches for law and policy

Qualitative Methods

I have trained as a qualitative researcher and have used qualitative methods in every study I have been involved with, supporting decisionmakers in the UK, at EU level, and in international organisations. I am able to design research protocols and undertake research involving:

  • In-depth interviews
  • Case studies
  • Workshops
  • Literature review and desk research
  • Participant observation
qualitative research
mixed methods

Mixed methods research (combining qualitative and quantitative approaches)

I have designed and delivered dozens of team-based studies that combine qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques. All of the evaluations and impact assessments I have worked on take this approach.

In addition to the qualitative methods that form the core of my professional training, I can design research that also integrates:

  • Economic analysis
  • Large-scale surveys
  • Public consultations

Evaluation & Impact Assessment of Programmes and Policies

I have directed and managed large-scale and complex evaluations and impact assessment studies throughout my career for the European Commission and its agencies, including the European Food Safety Authority, European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

My methodological design experience includes:

  • Theories of change and intervention logics
  • Evaluation frameworks and indicators
  • Data collection protocols combining qualitative and quantitative information
  • Stakeholder engagement involving interviews, online public consultation, targeted expert surveys, and stakeholder workshops
  • Multi-criteria analysis
impact assessment
foresight studies

Foresight studies

I have used foresight approaches to support the UK government, including the Food Standards Agency, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Army HQ. I have also used foresight approaches in researcher-led projects supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

I have experience designing and delivering foresight studies using the following approaches, or combinations of approaches:

  • Scenario planning, scenario analysis
  • Horizon scanning
  • Gaming (i.e. ‘serious games’)