Dr. Maaz Gardezi, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech, is dedicated to exploring the intersection of climate change and the social and political implications of emerging digital technologies in food and agriculture systems. His interdisciplinary research and teaching focus on building sustainable and socially just regional, national, and international food and agricultural systems. Dr. Gardezi emphasizes the role of social science in promoting innovation and democracy, from design to governance.
As an environmental sociologist with expertise in mixed methods research, Dr. Gardezi maintains several long-term research projects through his Technology-Environment-Society Lab at Virginia Tech. He is the Principal Investigator of projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant. His research focuses on precision agriculture, exploring how emerging agricultural technologies such as artificial intelligence, sensors, and big data can help farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change while addressing social and political inequalities within farm labor and work. Dr. Gardezi's participatory research/design methods involve farmers and farm workers as co-designers and co-evaluators of Artificial Intelligence solutions, along with nonprofit organizations and industry experts to balance innovation with demands of social justice. Additionally, his research journey has taken him to the Global South where he has pursued multiple research projects focused on climate adaptation and vulnerability in South Asia, examining power structures, outlining policy-relevant paths to empower marginalized communities, and innovating methods and theories relating to sustainability and climate.
Before joining Virginia Tech, Maaz was an assistant professor of sociology and rural studies with a secondary appointment in the natural resource management at South Dakota State University. He has a bachelors in economics from University of Bath (UK), a masters in environmental policy from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a PhD in sociology and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. He has experience working in different sectors, including the private sector (Porsche Cars Great Britain), non-profit (World Wildlife Fund- Washington D.C.), and as a consultant to various government bodies.
At Virginia Tech, Maaz offers undergraduate and graduate courses within the Department of Sociology and the newly approved graduate certificate program in Science, Technology, and Engineering in Policy (STEP).
- Social implications of emerging agricultural technologies
- Climate change and sustainability
- Responsible innovation and governance
- Computational social sciences
- Participatory design of emerging technologies
- Ph.D. in Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture (Minor: Statistics), Iowa State University, 2017
- M.S. in Environmental Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2014
- B.S. in Economics, University of Bath, UK, 2008
- 2023-2024: Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech.
- 2022: “Major Sponsored Research Award”, Research and Innovation at Virginia Tech
- 2022-2024: Faculty Mentoring Grant Approved, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech. ($1500)
- 2021-2022: +Policy Fellowship, Policy Destination Area, Virginia Tech. Project title: “Responsible innovation and governance of climate smart irrigation technologies in the Hindu Kush Himalayas” ($10,500).
- 2021: Awarded the 2021 David Fee Memorial Lecture at South Dakota State University, entitled: “Dilemmas of technological progress in advanced capitalism: Big data and artificial intelligence”
- 2019: Selected by a student-athlete as an “Outstanding Educator”, South Dakota State University.
- 2019: College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, South Dakota State University Outstanding Faculty Achievement for NSF: Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier
- 2017: Travel Award, United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) & National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ($1000).
- 2016: Ecological Risk Assessment Specialty Group Paper Award, Society of Risk Analysis ($500)
- 2012 - 14: Fulbright Masters Scholarship, The US Department of State ($132,000)
Peer Reviewed Articles
Gardezi, M., Joshi, B., Rizzo, D. M., Ryan, M., Prutzer, E., Brugler, S., & Dadkhah, A. (Accept). Artificial Intelligence in Farming: Challenges and opportunities for building trust. Agronomy Journal. Accepted April 5, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1002/agj2.21353
Adereti, D.M., Gardezi, M., Wang, T., McMaine, J. (Accept). Understanding farmers’ engagement and barriers to machine learning-based intelligent agricultural decision support systems. Agronomy Journal. Accepted: 13 April 2023. https://doi.org/10.1002/agj2.21358
Prutzer, E., Gardezi, M., Emery, M., Rizzo, D…Zia, A. (Accept). Rethinking ‘responsibility’ in precision agriculture innovation: Lessons from an interdisciplinary research team. Journal of Responsible Innovation. Accepted April 8, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2023.2202093
Ogunyiola, A., & Gardezi, M. (2022). Restoring sense out of disorder? Farmers’ changing social identities under big data and algorithms. Agriculture and Human Values, 39(4), 1451-1464. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10334-1
Gardezi, M., Adereti, D., Stock, R. & Ogunyiola, A. (2022). In pursuit of responsible innovation for precision agriculture technologies. Journal of Responsible Innovation. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2022.2071668
Stock, R. and Gardezi, M. (2022). Arrays and algorithms: Emerging regimes of dispossession at the frontiers of agrarian technological governance, Earth System Governance, Volume 12, 2022, 100137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esg.2022.100137
Ogunyiola, A., Gardezi, M., and Vij, S. (2022). Smallholder farmers’ engagement with climate smart agriculture in Africa: Role of local knowledge and upscaling. Climate Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2021.2023451
Gardezi, M., Michael, S., Stock, R., Vij, S., Ogunyiola, A., and Ishtiaque, A. (2021). Prioritizing climate-smart agriculture: An organizational and temporal review. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, WCC755. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.755
Vij, S., Biesbroek, R., Stock, R., Gardezi, M., Ishtiaque, A., Groot, A., Termeer, K. Power-sensitive design principles’ for climate change adaptation policy-making in South Asia. Earth System Governance, 9, 100-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esg.2021.100109
Stock, R., and Gardezi, M. (2021). Make bloom and let wither: Biopolitics of precision agriculture at the dawn of surveillance capitalism. Geoforum, 122, 193-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.04.014
Gardezi, M., and Stock, R. (2021). Growing algorithmic governmentality: Interrogating the social construction of trust in precision agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies, 84, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.03.004
Gardezi, M. and Arbuckle J.G (2020). Techno-optimism and farmers’ attitudes toward climate change adaptation. Environment and Behavior, 52, 82-105. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0013916518793482
Gardezi, M and Bronson, K. (2020). Examining the social and biophysical determinants of U.S. Midwestern corn farmers’ adoption of precision agriculture. Precision Agriculture, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11119-019-09681-7
Gardezi, M., & Arbuckle, J. G. (2019). The influence of objective and perceived adaptive capacity on Midwestern farmers’ use of cover crops. Weather, Climate, and Society, 11(3), 665-679. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-18-0086.1
Gardezi, M., and Arbuckle, J. G. (2019). Spatially representing vulnerability to extreme rain events using midwestern farmers’ objective and perceived attributes of adaptive capacity. Risk Analysis, 39(1), 17-34. Risk Analysis. https://doi:10.1111/risa.12943
Shao, W, Gardezi, M., Xian, S. (2018). Examining the effects of objective hurricane risks and community resilience on risk perceptions of hurricanes at the county level in the U.S. Gulf coast: An innovative approach. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 108:5, 1389-1405 https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2018.1426436
P. F. Biehl, S. Crate, M. Gardezi, L. Hamilton, S.L. Harlan, C. Hritz, B. Hubbell, T.A. Kohler, N. Peterson, J. Silva (2018). “Innovative tools, methods, and analysis: Social science perspectives on climate change, part 3.” Washington, DC: USGCRP Social Science Coordinating Committee. https://www.globalchange.gov/content/social-science-perspectives-climate-change-workshop
Gardezi, M. & Illahe S (2019). “The five configurations of climate compatible development for poor natural resource dependent communities in Pakistan.” Sustainable Development Policy Institute Anthology.
Gardezi, Maaz (2013). “Historical perspective of the Indus river basin.” In L. Powell & S. Mittra (Eds.), Perspectives on Water: Constructing Alternative Narratives. New Delhi: Academic Foundation.
Gardezi, Maaz (2016). “David A. Cleveland: Balancing on a planet: the future of food and agriculture, California Studies in Food and Culture.” Agriculture and Human Values, 33(2), 491-492. Book Review
External Research Grants
As Principal Investigator:
2023-26: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Fostering Responsible Innovation and Governance of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Precision Agriculture. Program Name: AFRI Foundational - Social Implications of Emerging Technologies. Total Award: US $649,396
2022-24: National Science Foundation (NSF) Supplement. Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier- Research Large: Testing a Responsible Innovation Approach for Integrating Precision Agriculture (PA) Technologies with Future Farm Workers and Work (Award # 2202706). Total Award: US $500,000
2020-24: National Science Foundation (NSF) Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier- Research Large: Testing a Responsible Innovation Approach for Integrating Precision Agriculture (PA) Technologies with Future Farm Workers and Work (Award # 2026431/2202706). Total Award: US $3 million.
2019–21: National Science Foundation (NSF) Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier- Planning: Anticipating Risks and Benefits of Precision Agriculture (PA) for the Future of Agricultural Work and Workforce: A Multi-Stakeholder Research Agenda (Award # 1929814). Total Award: US $150,000.
2018–19: Midwest Big Data Hub - Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Plant Sciences, and Education (UASPSE) Early Career Researcher Foreign Collaboration Grant: Understanding the Digital Divide in Precision Agriculture. Total Award: US $4,500.
2016–17: Computing Community Consortium (CCC) & Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH). Early Career Research Seed Funding. Total Award: US $3,500.
As Co-Principal Investigator:
2020-23: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Roadmap to Water Resilience- Valuing Water as a Resource for Improved Ag Land Profitability and Reduction of Downstream Flood Risk”. Total Award: US$887,687; Dr. Gardezi’s share = US$90,000 (PI: Dr. John McMaine)
Internal Research Grants
As Principal Investigator:
2022-23: Center for Human Computer Interaction, Virginia Tech.“Trustworthy by design: Using human-centered AI for improving healthcare training effectiveness.” Gardezi (PI), Morshedzadeh (Co-PI), Hoda Eldardiry (Co-PI), Wallace Santos Lages (Co-PI), and Andre Albert Muelenaer (Co-PI). Total Award: $40,000
2021-22: College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech. Faculty Undergraduate Research Fund. Total Award: US$2,000
2018–19: South Dakota State University. Research and Scholarship Support Fund. Examining the Social and Behavioral Determinants of U.S. Public’s Support for Climate Change Mitigation Policy: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis. Total Award: US$1,872.
As Co-Principal Investigator:
2023-24: Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), Virginia Tech. “Securing Trustworthy XR interactions through Human-Machine Networks in Healthcare”. Brendan David-John (PI). Total Award: $40,00
- Presenter, “In pursuit of responsible innovation and governance of precision agriculture”. College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, June 2, 2021.
- Presenter, David Fee Memorial Lecture, “Dilemmas of technological progress in advanced capitalism: Big data and artificial intelligence” South Dakota State University, Brookings, March 25, 2021.
- Presenter, “Precision Agriculture: Algorithmic Governmentality and Reconfiguration of Farm Work and Workers”, presented to Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, February 18, 2021.
- Presenter, “Anticipating Risks and Benefits of Precision Agriculture (PA) or the Future of Agricultural Work and Workforce: A Multi-Stakeholder Research Agenda”, PI/Co-PI Meeting for Awardees of the National Science Foundation Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea Program, December 9, 2020.
- Presenter, “Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Review of INGO agenda”, the Northern Climate Network at Northern Michigan University, August 28, 2020.
- Panelist, “Technology Forum”, South Dakota State University, September 26, 2019.
- Presenter, “Interdisciplinarity in research and grant work”, Graduate College Professional Development Program, South Dakota State University, September 10, 2019
- Presenter, “Examining the social and biophysical determinants of Midwestern farmers’ adoption of precision agriculture”, Midwest Big Data Hub meeting in Salina (KS) on August 21, 2019
- Presenter, A conversation on the challenges that confront climate change research in Pakistan, and hinder its uptake in policy and practice. Climate Change, Social Vulnerability and Food Security in Pakistan Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan. Feb 16, 2015
- Presenter, Water: Source of conflict or cooperation between India and Pakistan? Presentation at the Blue Water Revolution Conference: Charting South Asia's Water Future. New Delhi, India, 11th April, 2011
- Panelist, Is civil society cooperation on climate change effective? Evidence from South Asia. A conversation between academics, policy makers, and civil society members. Kathmandu, Nepal, 21 September, 2011
I am always looking to recruit graduate student (MS or PhD) in Sociology at Virginia Tech to work with me on the social implications of emerging digital technologies in agriculture or other sectors (Big Data, Artificial Intelligence). If you are interested in this area of research, please send me a brief email and tell me about your interests and qualifications: firstname.lastname@example.org