Mr Federico Davila Cisneros

MEnv(Res), BIS(Sust)
PhD Student

Federico’s undergraduate degree on interdisciplinary studies focused on Human Ecology and International Relations. The degree allowed him to explore and understand the socio-ecological nature of sustainability problems for a systems perspective. Courses covered a range of topics in qualitative and integrative research, human ecology and global environmental change.

Federico also holds a Master of Environment (Research), which focused on international environmental policy and politics, with emphasis on global food systems. His dissertation focused on the contributions of different societal actors make towards food sovereignty dialogues at United Nations negotiations, with a focus on the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

Federico is also involved in sustainability education at the Fenner School, with a series of co-authored papers stemming from his experience. He currently tutors for ENVS2011 Human Ecology and ENVS1008 Sustainable Development.

Federico has also worked as a research consultant for a range of Australian and international government and non-government agencies in a range of topics including aid effectiveness, Indigenous training and employment, consumer protection education, security and violence, and regulatory reform.

Research interests

Thesis title

A human ecology approach to food systems research

Thesis description

The aim of this project is to advance the use of social science research in food systems. The project explores how smallholder farmers in the Philippines balance self-sufficiency needs with national and global tensions between food security and food sovereignty. The research is qualitative in nature, draws from interdisciplinary literature including trade, food policy, development sociology and food sovereignty discourse. The theoretical underpinnings of the project stems from systems thinking and political ecology as tools for analyising and deriving relevance from qualitative data.

Davila, F., 2018. Human ecology and food systems: Insights from the Philippines, Human Ecology Review, Available at:

Davila, F. and Dyball, R., 2018. Food Systems and Human Ecology: An Overview, In Sustainability Science: Key issues (Ed, Koenig, A.) Routledge, London, pp. 183-210.

Evans, M.C. Davila, F. Tommey, A. Wyborn, C. 2017. Embrace complexity to improve conservation in decision making.  Nature Ecology and Evolution. 345:1

Amparo, J, F Davila, R Dyball, D.B Geges, C.E.G Jimena, C.T Malenab, E.T Mendoza, and S.L Saguiguit. 2017. An analysis of smallholder commodity systems using and integrative and systems based framework in two pilot ISARD sites in the Philippines. SEARCA SFRT Final Report., Los Banos, the Philippines.

Davila, F. Reinhardt, W. 2017. Teaching as a Strategic Choice. In: McMaster, C. Murphy, C. Whitburn, B. Mewburn, I. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and succeeding. Peter Lang: New York.

Davila, F. Sloan, T. van Kerkhoff, L. 2016. Knowledge Systems and RAPID Framework for Impact Assessments. ACIAR Impact Assessment Series: 92. Available at:

Davila, F. 2016. Sustainable Food Systems: Building a New Paradigm – Human Ecology Review. Available at:

Koenig, A. Dyball, R. Davila, F. 2016. Transforming the World by Transforming the University: Envisioning the University of 2040. Solutions. 7:3, p 12-16. Available at:

Smyth, L., Davila, F., Sloan, T., Rykers, E., Backwell, S. and Jones, S., 2015. How science really works: the student experience of research-led education, Higher Education (online first) 1-17.

Davila, F. Dyball, R. (2015). Transforming Food Systems Through Food Sovereignty: An Australian Urban Context. Australian journal of Environmental Education. 2015, First View.  Available at:

Davila, F. Sloan, T. (2014).  Studios for sustainability in higher education. /Fusion. /  Rose, N. Davila, F. (2013). Feeding the world with a mix of science and tradition. The Conversation. Available at:

Sloan, T. Davila, F. Malbon, E. (2013).  Student-Facilitators as University Tutors: An effective approach to sustainability education in higher education. /Australasian Journal of Environmental Education/. 29(1), 80-96