School of Social and Political Science

Isabel Fletcher

Job Title

Senior Research Fellow, SHAPE-ID


I am a qualitative social scientist whose research focuses the interactions between nutrition research and public health policy, and the ways these influence everyday eating. My PhD Obesity: A historical account of the construction of a modern epidemic spanned medical sociology, public health policy and the history of medicine. I have subsequently worked on food security policy, commercial actors’ understandings of public health regulation, and the regulation of healthcare research. I am also co-convenor of the interdisciplinary network Food Researchers in Edinburgh (FRIED) and currently organise the network’s seminar series.

I am currently working 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. It is available at



Research interests

Research interests

Nutrition, Sociology of food, Sociology of consumption, Food security, Sustainable diets, Public health, Medical history, Social determinants of health, Medical sociology, Global health policy, Chronic illness, Political economy of health,

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
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 and 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.