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Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. - Global Resilience Institute. Boston, MA, US

Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. Christopher Bosso, Ph.D.

Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University | Faculty Affiliate, Global Resilience Institute


Christopher Bosso is professor of public policy at Northeastern University.



Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. Publication Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. Publication Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. Publication Christopher Bosso, Ph.D. Publication



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Christopher Bosso: Global Food + 2017




Christopher Bosso is professor of public policy at Northeastern University. His areas of interest include food and environmental policy, science and technology policy, and the governance of emerging technologies. His newest books are Framing the Farm Bill: Interests, Ideology, and the Agricultural Act of 2014 (University of Kansas Press, 2017) and, as editor, Feeding Cities: Improving Local Food Access, Sustainability, and Resilience (Routledge, 2017). His 2005 book, Environment, Inc.: From Grassroots to Beltway, received the 2006 Caldwell Award for best book in environmental policy and politics from the American Political Science Association. He also serves as associate director for academic affairs for the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and coordinates the undergraduate minor on food systems sustainability, health and equity.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Environmental Policy and Politics Food Systems and Public Policy Security and Systems Governance of Emerging Nanotechnology

Accomplishments (2)

2006 Lynton Caldwell Award (professional)

2006 Lynton Caldwell Award for best book in environmental politics and policy, for Environment Inc.: From Grassroots to Beltway, awarded by the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Section of the American Political Science Association (co-winner)

1988 Policy Studies Organization award (professional)

1988 Policy Studies Organization award for best book in public policy (co-winner), for Pesticides and Politics: The Life Cycle of a Public Issue.

Education (3)

University of Pittsburgh: Ph.D., Political Science 1985

University of Pittsburgh: MA, Political Science 1980

University of Akron: BA, Political Science 1978

Affiliations (3)

  • American Political Science Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Southern Political Science Association

Media Appearances (5)

House passes farm bill that includes new food stamp rules

The Mercury News  online


A deeply polarizing farm bill passed the House on party lines Thursday, a month after the legislation went down to stunning defeat after getting ensnared in the toxic politics of immigration.

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The Environmentally Conscious Guitarist

Premier Guitar  online


Guitar players love making messes. Slathering on too much fuzz at inopportune times, peaking VU meters, and rendering separation useless in the studio. It goes with the territory. True, sometimes you need complete isolation or the pristine precision of a Steely Dan record, but more often than not, there’s something special about getting gross with your guitar.

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3QS: New GMO Labeling Law Brings Controversy, Confusion

News @ Northeastern  online


Last week President Barack Obama signed a bill that creates a federal labeling standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Most food packages will be required to have a text label, a symbol, or some form of electronic code that is readable by a smartphone. The new law will go into effect in two years and will pre-empt a Vermont law signed last month. Opponents of the bill say Vermont’s law was stronger and that this national law falls short, while advocates say a national standard is better than a patchwork of state-to-state regulations.

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Northeastern Joins Innovative Food Systems Collaborative

News @ Northeastern  online


Northeastern Dining takes a forward-thinking approach to food, from its emphasis on sustainability to offering informative cooking demonstrations and programs. In recognition of these efforts, Northeastern Dining was recently selected to join a new food systems collaborative that pairs theory with practice to offer impact on research opportunities and sustainable menu choices for students.

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Northeastern Gets ‘Real’ With Commitment to Serving Sustainable Food

News @ Northeastern  online


Northeastern University is Boston’s first higher education institution to join the Real Food Challenge, a national campaign through which colleges and universities pledge to purchase at least 20 percent of their food from local, fair, and sustainable sources by 2020. President Joseph E. Aoun recently broke the news via Twitter.

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Event Appearances (3)

Emerging Technologies and Regulatory Terrain: Reflections on the Decade of Nano

The Economics of Science and Engineering Seminar  Harvard Business School


“Why the Farm Bill is Now About Food Stamps,” Workshop on the Sustainability of the World’s Food and Farming Systems

Weatherhead Center for International Affairs  Harvard University


Governing Emerging Technologies: Lessons from a Decade of Nanotechnology

Bentley University  Waltham, MA


Courses (3)

Environmental Politics and Policy

POLS 2395

Food Systems and Public Policy

PPUA 5270

Techniques of Policy Analysis

PPUA 6506

Articles (5)

Review Agricultural History

Christopher Bosso


For many in the food movement, urban agriculture is the New Big Thing. But, as anyone with historical perspective knows, it isn't new. It also isn't clear whether urban agriculture—a production and distribution ecosystem encompassing community gardens, non-profit and for-profit growing operations, farmers' markets, and peri-urban food hubs—will ever be big, or just a niche complement to the dominant food system. It is particularly uncertain whether urban agriculture in any form can meet the many expectations placed upon it, such as building more vibrant urban communities, improving food access, providing jobs, or addressing decades of racial, economic, and health inequities.

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Settling into the midstream? Lessons for governance from the decade of nanotechnology Journal of Nanoparticle Research

Christopher Bosso


This paper analyzes scholarly papers published from 2003 through 2013 on the general theme of nanotechnology and governance. It considers three general points: (1) the “problem” of nanotechnology; (2) general lessons for governance obtained; and (3) prospects for aligning the US regulatory system to the next generation of complex engineered nano-materials. It argues that engineered nano-materials and products are coming to market within an already mature regulatory framework of decade-old statutes, long-standing bureaucratic rules and routines, narrowly directive judicial decisions, and embedded institutional norms. That extant regulatory regime shapes how policymakers perceive, define, and address the relative benefits and risks of both proximate and yet-to-be idealized nano-materials and applications. The paper concludes that fundamental reforms in the extant regime are unlikely short of a perceived crisis.

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Integrating life cycle assessment into managing potential EHS risks of engineered nanomaterials: reviewing progress to date Journal of Nanoparticle Research

William C. Walker, Christopher J. Bosso, Matthew Eckelman, Jacqueline A. Isaacs, Leila Pourzahedi


The 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Environmental Health and Safety Research Strategy stressed the need for research to integrate life cycle considerations into risk management and, then, to better integrate risk assessment into decisionmaking on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) dimensions of nanomanufacturing. This paper reviews scholarly articles published 2010–2015 that in some way apply life cycle analysis to nanotechnology to assess the extent to which current research reflects the priorities lain out in the NNI report. As the NNI’s focus was primarily on the “responsible development of nanotechnology” we also focus our examination on the ways in which LCA, in concert with other methodologies, can provide utility to decision makers facing the challenge of implementing that broad goal. We explore some of the challenges and opportunities inherent in using LCA, a tool built to optimize manufacturing decisions, as a guide for policy formulation or tool for policy implementation.

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Engaging stakeholders in nano-EHS risk governance Environment Systems and Decisions

Jacqueline A. Isaacs, Carol Lynn Alpert, Matthew Bates, Christopher J. Bosso, Matthew J. Eckelman, Igor Linkov, William C. Walker


We report on an unusually frank and wide-ranging discussion concerning nano-manufacturing environmental health and safety, between industry and government representatives, insurers and litigators, and experts in life cycle and risk analysis, held at the Boston meeting of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization in November 2014. By transitioning from a standard conference panel presentation with audience Q&A to a forum in which each of the two dozen stakeholders in the room was invited to briefly identify themselves and share their expertise and concerns, key understandings emerged along with more nuanced thinking about a broader range of factors influencing industry decision-making and investment, public perception, and government regulation. Industry representatives and advisors who had initially arrived at the session in “observer mode” spoke frankly about the dilemmas of pursuing innovative nanotechnologies with real potential for societal benefit in a climate of regulatory and legal uncertainty. This was a “conversation that has never happened before,” noted one experienced participant, and it left many others hopeful that future stakeholder forums could accelerate the quest to achieve reasonable frameworks for safe governance of emerging technologies.

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Extended Producer Responsibility in the United States Journal of Industrial Ecology

Jennifer Nash, Christopher Bosso


Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that requires manufacturers to finance the costs of recycling or safely disposing of products consumers no longer want. This article describes the evolution of EPR policies in the United States, focusing on the role of states as policy actors. For their part, federal lawmakers have not embraced EPR policies except to remove some barriers to state‐level initiatives. In the two‐decade period from 1991 to 2011, U.S. states enacted more than 70 EPR laws. In addition, manufacturers have implemented voluntary programs to collect and recycle products, but those efforts have proven largely ineffective in capturing significant quantities of waste products. With the help of new coalitions of diverse interest groups, recently states have renewed efforts to establish effective EPR programs, enacting 40 laws in the period 2008–2011. Several state initiatives suggest a more promising future for EPR.

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