Shenggen Fan received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and business management in 1982 and a master’s degree in economics and trade in 1985 from Nanjing Agricultural University. In 1989, he received a doctoral degree in applied economics from the University of Minnesota.
He was a post-doctoral fellow and associate research officer at the International Service for National Agricultural Research in the Hague, the Netherlands. Fan then became a research economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at the University of Arkansas from 1992 until 1995. Since 1995, Fan has worked for the International Food Policy Research Institute where he is now the director general.
Fan has received many awards including the Outstanding Young Scholar award from the National Science Foundation in China in 2005; Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals from the University of Minnesota in 2006; Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota in 2006; and a fellowship at the International Academy of Food Science and Technology from 2012.