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New Early Career Scholar Fellow Spotlight: Dr. Arunee Promkhambut


Dr. Arunee Promkhambut is a former Early Career Scholar Fellow 2019-2020 and affiliate of the Research Program at East-West Center. While in Hawai’i, Arunee’s research focused on the changes in the past 20 years of rice production and farmer livelihood under forces of economic and social change and predicted farm trajectories in two main rice production areas of Thailand: the Central Plains and the Northeast region. This study is a part of the “Changes in rice farming in mainland Southeast Asia” project supported by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), led by Dr. Jefferson Fox, Senior Fellow in the East-West Center Research Program and CSEAS board member.1

Originally from Thailand, Arunee is currently an Assistant Professor in System Approaches in Agriculture for Sustainable Development, Department of Agricultural Extension and Agricultural Systems, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University.2 She also completed her PhD in Khon Kaen University’s Department of Agronomy in 2010 on the “Effects of waterlogging on growth, yield and quality of sweet sorghum grown before rice under rainfed and irrigated conditions.”

Her current works mainly focus on farmer participatory research and development, farming system research and on-farm agricultural research to improve production technology appropriate to the social and economic characteristics of farmers and market. She is also interested in farmers’ adaptation to climate change, resilient and sustainable community development and rural entrepreneurship development.

In the past 5 years, she received Khon Kaen University funding for a Poverty Alleviation Project. Through this project, she worked closely with farmers and stakeholders in agricultural and community development; which piqued her interest in participatory research and development and community development. She has also worked with researchers both in Thailand and overseas and guided PhD and MSc students on farming system research in Northeast and some parts in rubber plantation in Eastern and Southern part of Thailand. They primarily used socio-economic surveys to understand farmers’ practices and factors driven farmer’s decision making.

She was also recently part of a team working to develop a MSc double degree program, “Participatory and Integrative Support for Agricultural Initiative,” with three other leading universities in agriculture in Thailand: Kasetsart University, Chiang Mai University and Prince of Songkhla University. This project is housed under the Higher Education-International Capacity Building program supported by ERASMUS+ Programme of European Union. This program encourages students to conduct their thesis research with farmers to work towards addressing farmers’ agricultural challenges.

Learn more about:

Arunee’s work

Her research while at EWC


  1. Dr. Jeff Fox’s project provides opportunities for early-career colleagues in SEA to conduct qualitative research on how the transformation of rice production systems is affecting daily livelihoods. Our recently awarded LuceSEA Transitions: Environment, Society, and Change will also support this engagement.
  2. Khon Kaen University is also one of our SEA-based partners in the LuceSEA Transitions: Environment, Society, and Change project, specifically in the sub-project: Enhancing Research and Training Collaboration with SEA-based Research Partners – From Rural to Urban: Engaging SEA Scholars in Research on Agrarian Transitions.