Professor Jennie Macdiarmid

Professor Jennie Macdiarmid
Professor Jennie Macdiarmid
Professor Jennie Macdiarmid

BSc (Hons), PhD

Director - Interdisciplinary Centre for Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 437125
Office Address

Polwarth Building 1.069 University Medical School Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD

Senior Vice Principals



Jennie is a Professor of Sustainable Nutrition and Health and the Interim Director of interdisciplinary challenge Health, Nutrition and Well-being. She gained a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Surrey, during which she spent a year working at the CSIRO research laboratories in Melbourne, Australia. After graduating she worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Food Research (Norwich) and the University of Dundee (Psychology dept) investigating chocolate and eating behaviours. In 1997 she completed her PhD at the University of Leeds (Psychology), after which she spent 18 months working for the International Obesity Task Force in Aberdeen. Before joining the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen in 2006, she worked in department of environmental and occupational health in the medical school. Her research focuses on food and nutrition security and the impact of diets on climate change and land use. This includes understanding how to change dietary habits to be healthier and more environmentally sustainable. 


  • BSc Nutrition and Food Science 
    1991 - University of Surrey 
  • PhD Nutrition and Psychology 
    1997 - University of Leeds 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

School of Medicine, Medical Science and Nutrition Research Committee (2023-present)

University of Aberdeen Senate (2017-2020)

External Memberships

FAO/WHO International Science Committee: UN dietary guiding principles for sustainable and healthy diets (2019-20)

International Union of Nutritional Sciences Task Force on Sustainable Diets (2018- present) 

Scientific committee British Nutrition Foundation (2020- present)

FAO/WHO International Consultation Group on Sustainable and Healthy Diets (2018-2019)

BBSRC Global Food Security Science Advisory Group, UK (2017-2020) 

BBSRC Public Panel Steering group, UK (2014-2016)

Scientific Committee for International Sustainable Food Systems and Diets (Daniel et Nina Carasso Foundation, France) (2012-2017)

Latest Publications

View My Publications

Prizes and Awards

Excellence award: Principal's Prize for Research & Engagement in Interdisciplinary Research Award (2021).

Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement with Research in Biomedical Sciences Awarded by the University of Aberdeen and Wellcome Trust (2015).


Research Overview

Food and nutrition security

Food systems and sustainable diets.

Dietary behaviours, habits and food choices.


Research Areas

Nutrition and Health

Research Specialisms

  • Nutrition
  • Health Sciences

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Key research projects:

1.   Dietary behaviours and habits in the context of shifting to sustainable diets with complex social systems: agent-based modelling (RESAS Scottish Government funding).

2.  DEVIL - Delivering Food Security on Limited Land (Belmont Forum/FACCE-JPI project). 

3. AFRICAP - Agriculture and Food-Systems resilience: increasing capacity and advising policy (GCRF funded).

4.  Sustainable and Healthy diets in India (SAHDI) Wellcome Trust.

 5. Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS), UK, India, South Africa Wellcome Trust 

6.  Young people’s views about climate change and eating less meat. Pump-priming Interdisciplinary Award.

7. Food insecurity and dietary diversity among low-income migrant workers affected by COVID-19 in India.   GCRF pump-priming Award.


Past Research

Previous research areas:

Obesity and policy & behaviours

Eating behaviour and chocolate addiction

Occuptional health (long term health impact of diving)

Knowledge Exchange

Public Engagement: 

BBC (Scotland) Disclosure: climate change documentary (2021)

Café Med  “The route to healthy and environmentally-friendly diets”

Café Controversial “Buy one, throw one out” (public talk)

CPD: using research in ‘real life’.


University of Leeds, UK.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. 

Kings College London, UK.

James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, UK

Met Office

Chatham House

International collaboration, including USA, Australia, Brazil, India, Switzerland, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania.


PhD students:

Ndashe Kapulu (2019-present) Soy transition and implications for agri-food systems in Zambia.

Lucy Sam (2016-present) Investigation of domestic food practices and routines, and their determinants.

Charlotte Hall (2014-2019) Environmental consequences of delivering food security.

Renaud Heckle (2014-2019) Constraints and opportunities to integrate beekeeping into mixed farming in Sub-Saharan countries.

Henri de Ruiter (2013- 2017) Implications of meeting a healthy diet for sustainable land use.

Liam McMorrow (2012-2018) An economic analysis of food choice and its associations with health inequalities.

Tania Griffin (2007-2011) SNAK: educational intervention to improve the knowledge of non-milk extrinsic sugars and energy balance among children aged 11-12 years.



Funding and Grants

Wellcome (2024-2027) Maximising potential of plant based convenience foods in real-life. University of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow, University of Oxford.

Scottish Government (Rural and Environment Research Analysis Directorate) (2022-2027) Pathways to healthy and sustainable diets. University of Aberdeen.

University of Aberdeen Pump-Priming Interdisciplinary Award (2021) Young people’s views about climate change and eating less meat.  

University/GCRF pump-priming award (2020-21). Food insecurity and dietary diversity among low-income migrant workers affected by COVID-19 in India. 

GCRF (2018-2023) AFRICAP - Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy. University of Leeds, University of Aberdeen, Chatham House, FANRPAN, Met Office

Scottish Government (Rural and Environment Research Analysis Directorate) (2017-22) Programme of research on sustainable diets.

Wellcome Trust (2017-2019) Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS). London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Aberdeen.

Belmont Forum/FACCE-JPI International Collaborative Research Funding (2015-2019). DEVIL (Delivering Food Security on Limited Land), International multidisciplinary partnership (8 countries). Led by University of Aberdeen.

National Nutrition Security: Daniel and Nicol Carasso Foundation. Nutrition security and international trade in the UK. €10K.

Wellcome Trust (2014-16) Sustainable and healthy diets in India. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Aberdeen.

Scottish Government (2014) Guidance for caterers on children’s menus. Aberdeen University. 

Food Standards Agency Scotland (2012-13) Estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions of the Eatwell week. Aberdeen University. 

WWF-UK (2010) Livewell project: A balance of healthy and sustainable food choices. University of Aberdeen.

Food Standards Agency Scotland (2010-2011). Survey of diet, influences on food choices and eating practices among children in Scotland in 2010. University of Aberdeen

Food Standards Agency Scotland (2007-2008) Secondary Analysis of the Survey of Sugar Intake among Children in Scotland. University of Aberdeen.

Scottish Government (Rural and Environment Research Analysis Directorate) (2009-12) Environmental Determinants of Public Health in Scotland  (EDPHiS) Obesity case study. Unversity of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow.

Health and Safety Executive (2004-5) Further investigation of the possible musculoskeletal, cognitive deficit and hearing deficit due to welding in divers identified in the ELTHI Diving study. Aberdeen University.

Health and Safety Executive (2003) Identification of factors affecting quality of life in divers and offshore workers. University of Aberdeen.

Health and Safety Executive (2002) Attitudes to safety culture among divers and offshore work. University of Aberdeen.


Teaching Responsibilities

Course coordinator for MSc course: Sustainable Nutrition and Global Food Systems


Lecture on the following courses:

MSc Human Nutrition & Metabolism 

MSc Global Nutrition 

Fundamentals of Research Design

Sixth Century Course on World Food 

MSc Nutrition (University of Glasgow)


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals