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Dr Benjamin Wills

Dr Benjamin Wills

Research Fellow

Ben is exploring how increased information capture and sharing in Australian Agri-food chains can lead to more financially and environmentally sustainable business models. Prior to commencing at CeRDI, Ben worked on the ARC funded Pathways to Market industrial transformation hub project at the University of Tasmania, where he used Value Chain Analysis to measure the impact of information systems integration in two high value Australian food chains. As a mixed methods social scientist he uses qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the value creation implications of technology driven practice change for food producers and consumers.

Ben holds a PhD in Management (2014), Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Human Geography (2007) and a Bachelor of Economics (2006) from the University of Tasmania. Ben's PhD research investigated how e-commerce dependent business models within the local/organic food sector are affecting consumer access issues. In addition to academic research, Ben co-founded Tasmania's largest retail food co-operative, Source Community Wholefoods, and has worked as a consultant on a number of local food system development projects in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Call: 03 5327 6759

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Management) (2014), University of Tasmania. Thesis Title: 'Access to alternative food system qualities: A comparison of internet and non-internet systems of provision'
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Tasmania
  • Bachelor of Economics, University of Tasmania
Community Associations

The Hub Foundation Advisory Committee (2014-2016)
Source Wholefoods Cooperative Board and Treasurer (2005-2011)

Professional Experience

Research Fellow in Innovative Business Models
Australian Innovation Research Centre
University of Tasmania
04/2015 - 09/2017

Independent Consultant
Agri-food System Economics
06/2014 - 03/2015

Enterprise Development Manager
Cobaw Community Health Service
10/2013 - 10/2014

Food System Development Consultant
Agrarian Renaissance Ltd (Hertfordshire, UK)
02/2008 - 02/2009

Teaching Experience
  • Social Enterprise in the Digital Age (XBR302) - lead applicant on the development of this 3rd year, cross disciplinary unit, which was the University of Tasmania's first unit offering in the area of social entrepreneurship. The unit has been recognises as an exemplar of the 'constructive alignment' pedagogical principal.
  • Business Enterprise Development for Schools Program (BEDS) - The Tasmanian school of Business and Economics at the University of Tasmania ran this high-school level program to give young people a hands on experience of what starting a business involves.
  • Book Chapters

    Wills, B.D. (2014). 'King Island', A Field Guide to Tasmanian Produce, The Field Institute, Hagan J, Palmer A, Chau M, Mundy L, Russo R, Deutrom K and Wills, B (ed), Melbourne

  • Journal papers

    Wills, B. (2017). Eating at the limits: Barriers to the emergence of social enterprise initiatives in the Australian emergency food relief sector. Food Policy, 70, 62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.06.001

    Wills, B., & Arundel, A. (2017). Internet-enabled access to alternative food networks: A comparison of online and offline food shoppers and their differing interpretations of quality. Agriculture and Human Values, 34(3), 701-712. doi: 10.1007/s10460-017-9771-2

  • Conference Publications

    Sidsaph, H., Wills, B.D., & Alexander, R. (2018). 'Exploring the role of social media in the vertical and horizontal reconnection of Alternative Food Networks: A comparison between Chester, UK and Ballarat, Australia'. Royal Geography Society with IBGs, 28-31 August, Cardiff University, Cardiff UK.

    Wills, B. (2016). 'Let them pay for cake: considering social enterprise business models for emergency food relief in Australia', Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream - Book of Abstracts, 30 June-1July 2016, Hobart, Australia, pp. 40.

    Wills, B. (2015). 'Countercultural convenience: access to 'alternative' food system quality attributes online', XXVI ESRS Congress Book of Abstracts: Places of Possibility? Rural Societies in a Neoliberal World, 18-21 August 2015, Aberdeen, Scotland, pp. 46.

    Wills, B.D. (2007). 'Consuming local food and accessing place', XXII European Society of Rural Sociology Congress, 20 August, Wageningen, The Netherlands

  • Thesis

    Wills, B.D. (2014). 'Access to 'alternative' food system qualities: a comparative study of internet and non-internet mediated systems of provision' [Doctorate]

  • Other Public Output

    Bonney, L., Turner, P., Wills, B.D., Mirowski, L.T., & Vo, S.A. (2017). 'Traceability Systems for Wild Caught Lobster, Via Sense-T and Pathways to Market', Fisheries Research Development Council, Deakin, ACT [Government or Industry Research]

    Wills, B.D. (2011). 'Source Tasmania', A Feasibility Study, Australian Innovation Research Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 1-35. [Report Other]

  • Sense-T 'Pathways to Market' - Data integration and impact assessment for the Greenham Tasmanian grass-fed beef value chain
  • Sense T 'Pathways to Market - Development of a live product traceability system for the Southern Rock Lobster Industry
  • Understanding barriers to the emergence of social enterprise food initiatives in the Australian Emergency Food Relief Sector
  • Assessing the impact of e-commerce business models on resource constrained consumer's access to local and organic food systems
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