Rebecca Paxton (MIR) joined the working group Transdisciplinary Systems Research as a research assistant in 2011. She teaches undergraduate and masters courses introducing systems thinking to aid decision-making and manage change, ethics and responsibility in agri-food systems, and the role and impact of discourses and constructed meanings in the development of the organic agriculture movement. She is particularly interested in transdisciplinary approaches where students collaborate with local practitioners to learn about, define problems within, and manage the challenges of case systems. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Rebecca supervises a number of Masters students within the program Organic Agricultural Systems and Agroecology (formerly Organic Farming).
Prior to moving to Vienna Rebecca received a Masters Degree in International Relations from Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, where she previously also completed a BSc with a double major in Environmental studies and Development studies, and a BA in International relations. She also completed an Honours Degree in Hazard and Disaster Management at Canterbury University, NZ.
Rebecca is currently a doctoral candidate in the Institute of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Division of Organic Farming, BOKU. In her doctoral research she is analysing how Austrian organic farmers define and practice health in their work and daily lives. She is particularly interested in how Health beliefs and practices connect organic farmers with other sectors of society such as schools and medical facilities.
Rebecca has wide ranging research interests, which are connected through her commitment to sustainable development and the use of systemic approaches. She would like to further explore how different societal sectors can interact to produce co-benefits; how expectations of roles and responsibilities affect our ability to collaborate to meet societal goals, and how communities’ can draw upon their own resources to meet their needs and goals, especially in times of crisis.
The titel of her thesis is "Farming as a system to promote health: A critical systems analysis of the Austrian organic farmer perspective on 'healthy' agri-food system development"