Alex Trebek Research Fellow, AI and Environment (2020-2021)
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Rachana Devkota is an Alex Trebek Research Fellow in AI and Environment at the University of Ottawa AI + Society Initiative.
As an Alex Trebek Fellow in AI and Environment, Dr. Rachana Devkota will assess agricultural digitalization innovations, and specifically policy initiatives in Canada, for their ability to foster small farmers and environmental sustainability. All of her work uses the framework of responsible research and innovation to judge the societal value and acceptance of emergent technologies.
Dr. Devkota is an expert in agricultural economics, gender-based agricultural analysis, and rural development. Her major research interests lie within responsible research and innovation, evidence-based policy research and advocacy for sustainable agriculture practices; she has focused largely on smallholder farming and women farmers.
Dr. Devkota completed her PhD at the University of Guelph, Canada, in Rural Studies with a focus on small farm mechanization policy and gender analysis. Part of her PhD research was funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which awarded her the David and Ruth Hopper and Ramesh and Pilar Bhatia Canada Research Fellowship in 2017, given to the top female candidate nationally amongst doctoral candidates. She has completed a M. Sc. in Agricultural Economics from India, with a focus on statistics and vegetable marketing. She completed her undergraduate education also in agricultural science (with a major in agricultural economics) from Nepal.
Dr. Devkota is the lead author and co-author of dozens of academic publications. She has published in top international journals such as Geoforum and Sustainability and delivered talks all over the world. She also holds experience in developing proposals, managing, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluation of international development and research projects in South Asia (Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), North America (Canada and US), Europe (Norway and the Netherlands) and also in Africa (Ethiopia). Moving forward, she aims to leverage her experience to promote global food security, social inclusion, responsible innovation and smallholder farming.