School of Social and Political Science

Isabel Fletcher

Job Title

Senior Research Fellow

Research interests

Research interests

Food policy, Food security, Interdisciplinary research, Medical sociology, Obesity and overweight, One Health, History of nutrition, Public health policy, Sociology of consumption, Sociology of food, Sustainable diets, Transdisciplinary research.


I am a qualitative social scientist whose research is based in science and technology studies, but also incorporates approaches from sociology, food policy and public health policy. I have two main research interests: British and European policy approaches to food, nutrition and eating, and the ways in which interdisciplinary research is used to address complex social problems, such as unhealthy diets, or the negative environmental impact of food production. These two interests overlap as food research is a new and rapidly developing interdisciplinary topic in the social sciences. I have worked in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts on subjects such as public health models of obesity, food security policy, commercial actors’ responses to public health regulation, and sustainable diets, using a range of research methods, including interviewing members of the public and expert stakeholders. I also have an extensive research network developed through my lead role in organising the Food Researchers in Edinburgh (FRIED) network interdisciplinary seminar series. 

Currently I am the lead social scientist on a Scottish Government-funded learning review of the development the Scottish programme of waste water testing for COVID-19. Previously I worked on the H2020-funded project Shaping Interdisciplinary Practices in Europe (SHAPE-ID) with Professor Catherine Lyall. A key output from this project is the recently launched SHAPE-ID Toolkit which provides a range of resources for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research aimed at researchers, research organisations, funders, policymakers and societal partners.



Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Fletcher I, Lyall C. Covid-19 monitoring in Scottish wastewater: Lessons Learned Review. 2022 Oct 20, p. 1-17.
Vienni Baptista B, Fletcher I, Lyall C, Pohl C. Embracing heterogeneity: Why plural understandings strengthen interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Science and Public Policy. 2022 Jun 29. scac034.
Fletcher I. Middle aged businessmen and social progress: The links between risk factor research and the obesity epidemic. In Gard M, Powell D, Tenorio J, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Critical Obesity Studies. Routledge. 2021
Bruce A, Bruce DM, Fletcher I, Lamprinopoulou C. Producing food in a fragile food system – a case study on Isle of Skye, Scotland. In Schübel H, Wallimann-Helmer I, editors, Justice and food security in a changing climate. Wageningen Academic Publishers. 2021. p. 140-145
Fletcher I, Lyall C. Stem cells and serendipity: Unburdening social scientists’ feelings of failure. In Fam D, O'Rourke M, editors, Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Failures: Lessons Learned from Cautionary Tales. Routledge. 2020. p. 45-61
Fletcher I, Birko S, Dove ES, Laurie G, McMillan C, Postan E et al. Co-production and managing uncertainty in health research regulation: A Delphi study. Health care analysis. 2020 Jun 1;28(2):99-120.
Fletcher I. Eating less meat ‘to save the planet’: Studying the development of sustainable healthy eating advice in the UK. In Gustafsson U, O'Connell R, Draper A, Tonner A, editors, What is Food?: Researching a Topic with Many Meanings. 1 ed. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 2019. p. 108-126
Fletcher I, Clarke AE. Imagining alternative and better worlds: Isabel Fletcher talks with Adele E. Clarke. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society. 2018 Jul 13;4:222-245.
Mazanderani F, Fletcher I, Schyfter Camacho P. Introduction: Talking STS. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society. 2018 Jul 12;4:179-182.
Laurie G, Dove ES, Fletcher I, Ganguli-Mitra A, Mcmillan K, Sethi N et al. Charting regulatory stewardship in health research: Making the invisible visible? Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics. 2018 Apr;27(2):333-347.
Fletcher I. Sustainable diets: How ecological nutrition can transform consumption and the food system. Food, Culture & Society. 2017 Oct 5;20(4):738-740.
Taylor-Alexander S, Dove ES, Ganguli Mitra A, Laurie G, Fletcher I, Mcmillan C. Beyond regulatory compression: Confronting the liminal spaces of health research regulation. Law, Innovation and Technology. 2016 Dec;8(2):149-176.
Dove ES, Fletcher I, Mitra AG, Laurie G, McMillan C, Sethi N et al. Conference report: 13th World Congress of the International Association of Bioethics, Edinburgh 14-17 June 2016 (IAB2016). SCRIPTed. 2016 Aug 31;13(2):202-209.
Fletcher I. The many meanings of obesity now and then. BioSocieties. 2016 Jun 2;11(2):267-271.
Fletcher I. Review: Eating right in America, Part 2 of 3. Allegra Lab: Anthropology, Law, Art & World. 2015 Apr 17.
Fletcher I, Yearley S, Lyall C. Mapping the UK Government’s genome: analysing convergence in UK policy one decade into the twenty-first century. In Wienroth M, Rodrigues E, editors, Knowing New Biotechnologies: Social Aspects of Technological Convergence. 2015. p. 92-104. (Genetics and Society).
Fletcher I. Nutritionism: The science and politics of dietary advice. New Genetics and Society. 2014 Mar 5;34(3):347–352.
Fletcher I. Defining an epidemic: The body mass index in British and American obesity research 1960-2000. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2014 Mar;36(3):338-353.
Lyall C, Fletcher I. Experiments in interdisciplinary capacity-building: The successes and challenges of large-scale interdisciplinary investments. Science and Public Policy. 2013 Feb;40(1):1-7.