Matthew Burnett is passionate about solving interdisciplinary problems in international development, particularly at the intersection of public health, economics, and the environment. Most recently Matt has been working on antimicrobial resistance, emerging pandemic threats, and sustainable livestock agriculture at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. During his time at the UN Matt organized a conference for USAID and Ethiopian Government Ministers in Addis Ababa; trained staff from Ethiopia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda; and set up a global network of antimicrobial resistance communications specialists.
Matt studied for a BSc in Microbiology and an MSc in Biological and Bioprocess Engineering, graduating with distinction from the University of Sheffield, UK. While at Sheffield he focused on viral and bacterial pathogens, bio-energy, and genetically engineering bacteria to produce complex vaccines for diseases such as malaria. Matt’s short film about his Master’s thesis gained exposure as a finalist in The Guardian's Very Short Film Competition 2012 leading to work in science journalism and educational filmmaking at the University of Cambridge.
Matt’s interest in international development began when he was invited to teach youth leaders in South Sudan with a Christian war-trauma charity, and intensified as he led a development project for the UK government working with vulnerable children in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In 2015 Matt was accepted onto a program to provide young leaders with first-hand policy experience, attending lectures by prominent politicians, diplomats, academics and third-sector leaders, and working for the opposition Finance Minister at the Scottish Parliament.