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Frontiers in social-ecological research: achieving the promise of integration in Marine Spatial Planning for resilient social and environmental outcomes


People and nature are inextricably linked. Overcoming global challenges (e.g. food security and sustainable development) thus requires an integrated social-ecological perspective. Although essential for achieving international nature-development goals (e.g. Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – IPBES; Blue Growth agenda; Sustainable Development Goals - SDG), the operationalization of social-ecological integration remains challenging. In particular, functional integration (i.e. bridging of science with policy or practice) is crucial for social and ecological resilience in light of current environmental change. Focusing on coastal and marine social-ecological systems (SES) and marine spatial planning (MSP), I will combine field-based studies, systematic reviewing and in-depth interviews to critically explore conditions facilitating or hindering social-ecological integration at global, European and national scales and enhance benefits of using integrative approaches. Two impactful case-studies (small-scale fisheries in São Tomé and Príncipe and Mozambique) will allow me to undertake a comprehensive analysis of these issues and their implications for marine biodiversity and human wellbeing, including socio-economic and gender aspects. This project will contribute towards addressing calls for enhanced and multifaceted social-ecological integration and facilitate interdisciplinary career development of a researcher moving from Biosciences Department (University of Exeter, UK) to Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal). By reframing environmental sciences as a field centred on social-ecological dynamics, this project will bring science and society together in a common effort to deal with sustainability challenges, while advancing cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral (academic and non-academic) knowledge exchange and facilitating academic development (researcher and host organization).

Field of science

  • /humanities
  • /social sciences/other social sciences/social sciences interdisciplinary/sustainable development
  • /engineering and technology/other engineering and technologies/food and beverages/food safety
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/environmental sciences

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Campus De Campolide
1099 085 Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 147 815,04