Maria Escobar-Tello


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Personal profile

Research interests

Environmental Governance

Social Science in Public Policy

Cultural Politics of the Environment

Livestock Farming, Risk and Regulation

Anti-Microbial Resistance in the North and South

Human-Animal Relations, Place and Space


Biographical details

María Paula is a cultural and environmental geographer with a multidisciplinary background and a strong interest in visual narratives and in innovative research methodologies, particularly the use of video and photography, as well as other interactive strategies to relate research processes and outcomes.

Originally trained as a Political Scientist, Maria Paula has a MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation and a PhD in Geography from King's College London. 

María Paula worked as a Research Assitant in KULTURisk, an EU-funded research project seeking to contribute to the implementation of a culture of environmental risk prevention, with a special interest on water-related risks, particularly floods.  She focused on how flood risk is framed and represented in the media. 

In October 2012 María Paula secured a competitive Fellowship to join the Social Science Group in DEFRA (Department Environment, Food and Regional Affairs) to review the social science evidence in animal health and welfare, identify gaps and produce a framework for further research and intervention options.

A second Fellowship explored regulatory tensions in the governance of livestock farming practices. Building on her growing expertise at the interface between social science and policy-making, a further Fellowship at Defra contributed to the assessment and development of a social science research agenda for the Department's Flood and Water Management Team.

Maria Paula currently works as a Research Associate for SINATRA, a NERC funded project seeking to understand the impacts of flooding from intense rainfall. 

Collaborating with government scientists from the Met Office, the Flood Forecasting Centre, and the Health & Safety Laboratory her task was to build a media-based inventory of flood impacts that helped them validate innovative models designed to provide impact-based warnings and forecasts. Her work helped to refine the definition, classification and scoring of impacts by developing a standard methodology for impact searches and a protocol for impact scoring.

In 2016 María Paula helped secure an ESRC grant on Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (Theme 4 on Behaviour). The marked growth in livestock production in low and middle income countries in order to respond to increases in the demand for food of animal origin has come hand in hand with an increase in the use of veterinary medicines (VM). Increased and inappropriate use of VM has been associated with the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Her work as the Lead Investigator for the Project focuses on understanding the use, prescription and control of veterinary medicines in Colombia's dairy sector.




Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

External positions

Social Science Fellow, DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Apr 201430 Jun 2015

Social Science Fellow, DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Jul 201331 Mar 2014

Social Science Fellow, DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Oct 201230 Jun 2013


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