Derek Eaton is a principal consultant and economist with Technopolis Group, focusing on evaluation and strategy, with expertise in food and agriculture, biotechnology and sustainability. With over 25 years of experience, he has worked in various stages of the science-policy-practice interface, including in academic research, applied research, research funding, and research policy formulation. He has a particular interest in the role of innovation policy in addressing complex societal challenges.
Derek began his career in the early 1990s with United Nations Environment in Nairobi, where he developed engagement between this organisation and the economic research community. He then worked as a research associate with the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), where he coordinated a research programme linking UK and Malaysian researchers on sustainable forestry, and he led efforts to systematically plan and assess efforts at capacity strengthening through collaborative research.
He subsequently worked for Global Affairs Canada as a food security economist, where he was responsible for managing Canada’s contributions to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Derek subsequently spent 10 years with the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, as a research economist with Wageningen Economic Research. He contributed to the growing the international portfolio of complex, inter-disciplinary research projects with funding from the EC, the World Bank, the UN and business.
Derek returned to the United Nations in 2009 to develop the international policy agenda on green economy, with responsibility as research lead on the production of the flagship report, “Towards a Green Economy”. From 2012 to 2015, he was Executive Director of the Centre for International Environmental Studies at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. There he led research on the productivity benefits of international research funding. From 2015 to 2016, he was VP Research of the Global Footprint Network, managing a team of 8 researchers across three continents. Immediately prior to joining Technopolis Group, Derek had a range of independent consulting assignments in evaluation and strategy.
Derek obtained his PhD from Wageningen University, an MSc in Environmental Economics from University College London, a graduate diploma in international development from the University of Ottawa, and a BSc in Economics and Quantitative Methods from the University of Toronto. He has published in various academic journals and also served as a peer-reviewer. Originally from Canada and also holding Dutch nationality, Derek is a native English speaker, fluent in French and Dutch, and has an advanced knowledge of Spanish.