Data Science for Food Security

Research Focus

Led by Marshall Burke and David Lobell, researchers at the Center on Food Security and the Environment are exploring new analytical techniques to harness data sets with the potential to solve challenges of food security. Voluminous data, including those obtained from satellite sensors, mobile phone carriers, or social media companies, provide opportunities to assess issues such as farm productivity, food prices, nutritional status, household assets, rural infrastructure, fishing patterns, human conflict, and social unrest. FSE is focused on the long-term opportunities in understanding and improving both food security and environmental quality through big data analysis.


Developing and testing remote-sensing based approaches to gather aid-relevant data on household assets, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Crop Yields

Using high-resolution satellite imagery with household survey data to develop algorithms and measure crop yields to improve productivity and eventually reduce hunger.

World Health

Using data and spatial analysis to atribute local-level factors to health and child mortality.

Lead Researchers

Marshall Burke

Marshall Burke

FSE Center Fellow
Assistant Professor, Earth System Science

Marshall Burke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth System Science and Center Fellow at the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, and Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on social and economic impacts of environmental change, and on the economics of rural development in Africa.

David Lobell

FSE Deputy Director
Professor, Earth System Science

David Lobell is a Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Earth System Science and Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment. He is the William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on agriculture and food security, specifically on generating and using unique datasets to study rural areas worldwide.

In the News
Scroll Down

In the News