Davide Natalini

PhD Researcher

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Location: Cambridge

Davide is PhD researcher in environmental and climate security. His research focuses on food and fuel riots driven by scarcity of natural resources, shocks to the Nexus (food, energy and water), and systemic risks.

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Davide Joined the Global Resources and Risk theme of the Global Sustainability Institute as PhD researcher in 2013. Davide holds a BA in Political Science – International Relations from the University of Bologna, Italy and an MA in Political Science – Environmental Economics and Environmental Policies from the University of Torino, Italy.

During his Masters’ he developed a computer model (Agent-Based Model) to evaluate the consequences of different policies to increase the sustainability of the US commuting sector. This research was part of a larger project between University of Torino and Collegio Carlo Alberto called ‘Green Economy Research on the Mediterranean Environment’.

During his PhD, Davide collaborated as a Research Assistant to the UK-US Taskforce on the Impact of Extreme Weather on US/UK Food Security which was sponsored by the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the University of Wisconsin, as well as many other partners.

Davide has also been involved in science communication activities and collaborations between arts and science. In 2014/2015 he collaborated in the organisation of the ‘Our Society’ (social science) evenings of Pint of Science in Cambridge. Part of his role was also to manage the collaborations between artists and scientists involved in the event and work with them to organise ‘Creative Reactions’, the final event of Pint of Science 2015 where all the artists’ pieces were displayed.

Davide is also currently engaging with Cambridge School of Arts and a group of artists from the Cambridge e:collective to set up a long-term project involving long-term collaborations between artists and scientists.

Finally, Davide also lectures on the GSI’s MSc Sustainability at Anglia Ruskin University. He teaches Agent-Based modelling, Environmental Economics and International Agreements on Climate Change. His approach to lecturing is dynamic and inclusive, using methods such as role-playing to effectively involve students.

Research interests

Davide is currently finalising his PhD dissertation. He developed an empirically grounded Agent-Based Model to investigate the interrelationships between scarcity of natural resources, their international prices, how they are traded internationally and how these dynamics can result in increased political fragility for countries. The model called ‘The Dawe Global Security Model’ will be used to test the possible consequences of future food and fuel production shocks in terms of food and fuel riots.

More broadly, Davide’s research interests revolve around environmental security, in particular how scarcity or abundance of natural resources can drive conflict and the dynamics involved. The methodologies he uses are mainly quantitative and include statistics, econometrics and computer modelling.
Davide’s research interests include stakeholder engagement. He developed and collaborated with colleagues in developing, running and facilitating several workshops involving a wide range of stakeholders (e.g. policy and decision makers, academics and practitioners). The methodologies he uses are innovative and include co-production, role-playing and serious gaming.

Davide is also keen on continuing his research collaborations with artists. In particular, how arts’ and science’s different approaches to research can be mutually beneficial to each other.

Areas of research supervision

Davide is happy to supervise students who would like to write their dissertation on the following topics, using either quantitative or qualitative approaches:

  1. Environmental/climate security - how scarcity of natural resources impacts global security

  2. Food/fuel riots - either causes or consequences

  3. Global/national political fragility - further investigation on what makes country politically fragile and how to measure it

  4. Systemic failure - interconnections between different crises

  5. Any dissertation that implements computer modelling, in particular agent-based modelling.


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Davide contributes to our MSc Sustainability.


  • MA in Political Science – Environmental Economics and Environmental Policies, University of Torino, Italy

  • BA in Political Science – International Relations, University of Bologna, Italy

Selected recent publications

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Journal articles

Conference papers

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