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Allison Loconto, expert for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

A researcher in social sciences, Allison Loconto is interested in responsible innovation.

Laboratoire interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés (INRA, Univ. Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée, CNRS, ESIEE, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech), INRA Versailles-Grignon.
A. Loconto during her work in South America. © INRA, A. Loconto
Updated on 03/23/2017
Published on 08/19/2015

With a PhD in sociology (Michigan State Univ., US) dedicated to the use of sustainability standards as market devices in the governance of global value chains, and a strong experience acquired around the globe, Allison Loconto was recruited in March 2013 at INRA, at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Science Innovations Societies (INRA, Univ. Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée, CNRS, ESIEE, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech) as a researcher.

Her work focuses on social and economic issues raised by the development, implementation and evaluation of sustainability standards in global agri-food systems.

A stay in Rome

Since October 2013, Allison Loconto has been working in Rome (IT) as a visiting expert for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This international organization is familiar to Allison since she already worked there from 2002 to 2006.

Within the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division (AGS) of the FAO, Allison focuses on voluntary standards and institutional innovations that display sustainable agricultural practices linked to the markets for sustainable products.

Responsible Research and Innovation: the Res-AGorA project

Allison is currently working at the FAO headquarters, leading the European project Res-AGorA (Responsible research and innovation in a distributed anticipatory governance frame. A constructive socio-normative approach).

Res-AGorA is one of four Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) projects funded by the European Commission in response to the call for proposals to develop a normative and comprehensive governance framework for responsible research and innovation (RRI). The purpose of Res-AGorA is to study existing governance arrangements and develop a reflexive and adaptable governance framework for RRI.
The project will achieve these objectives through a set of work packages (WP) providing an empirically grounded comparative analysis of a diverse set of existing RRI governance arrangements and their theoretical/conceptual underpinnings across different scientific technological areas (WP2 and WP3), a continuous monitoring of RRI trends and developments in selected countries (WP5) and, based on the cumulative insights derived from these work packages, co-construct with stakeholders the central building blocks and procedures of an overarching future governance framework for RRI (WP4).
Voluntary standards for agriculture and food serve as examples of de facto governance of responsible innovations (and RRi) which assemble networks of actors in the creation, implementation and evaluation of technologies and practices aimed at radically changing how food is produced, consumed and regulated according to a techno-scientific regime that grounds what is to be rendered responsible.

At the crossroads of research, market and evaluation tools, they become interesting spaces that A. Loconto explores, thanks to documents, analyses, interviews and other field observations, as part of her work at the FAO.

Res-AGorA, in figures

Res-AGorA consists of 8 European partners: the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Germany), the University of Twente (Netherlands), Aarhus University (Denmark), the Danish Board of Technology (Denmark), the University of Manchester (UK), the University of Padua (Italy), the University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (France) and the Institute for Advanced Studies (Austria).

The project is financed by the EU and runs over a three-year period starting February 2013.


Today, while tourists are walking through the streets of the Italian capital crushed by the summer sun, Allison and her colleagues are putting the final touches to the synthesis of their work. Many times presented at international conferences - most recently in Bogota (CO) and soon in Lagos (NG), all this work will be compiled by the end of 2015 in a book intended for the FAO and member countries and for a wider audience.

Loconto, A., Poisot, A.S. and P. Santacoloma (Eds.). Sustainable practices, sustainable markets? Exploring institutional innovations that link sustainable agricultural practices with markets. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome, IT).

This book will complete the list, already impressive, of publications of this young researcher. It will also mean the end of her stay in Rome in December 2015.

Agro-écologie : positionnement des recherches de l'Inra et du Cirad. © INRA

Agroecology, strategic research at INRA and CIRAD

As a scientific discipline, agro-ecology is often seen as a cross between ecology and agriculture, aimed at designing and managing sustainable agro-ecosystems. It also draws on economics and social sciences to develop reliable systems and roll them out through appropriate public policy and support mechanisms. Agro-ecology therefore offers a new paradigm for creating sustainable food systems.

During the FAO symposium on agroecology, from 23 to 25 November 2016 in Budapest (Hungary), Allison Loconto presented institutional innovations favouring local markets for sustainable agriculture.
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