about my work

"The following is a conflation of my current ‘being’ and my desired ‘becoming’…"
Science | Applied social-ecological research

Working in H2020 project ECOPOTENTIAL at the Department of Wetland Ecology (Doñana Biological Station, Spanish Research Council), I am currently affiliated to the Spatial Ecology Group as a postdoctoral researcher, in close collaboration with the Remote Sensing and GIS Lab. My research work focuses on the study of patterns, interactions and feedbacks between human societies and nature. I am interested in contributing to our current understanding of the evolution of and conditions for human cooperation to attain more equitable and sustainable opportunities and outcomes in social-ecological systems (SES). The latter constitutes an object of study of the Earth System that addresses specific relationships and problems among socioeconomic, institutional, natural resources and ecological components. More specifically, my research interests cover several interrelated areas:

- The theoretical and normative aspects of planning towards sustainability transitions, especially through adaptive approaches to policy and decision making under uncertainty, in a context of climate and global change.

- The advancement of more comprehensive methodologies and theoretic-analytical frameworks including political, power, discursive, institutional and cognitive factors, to better understand individual and social behaviour and agency, socioeconomic and institutional change, and, more generally, outcomes in SES (e.g., maladaptive traps).

- The development of best practice frames of reference (e.g., benchmarks, standards, case studies) against which to measure current performance in the system under study.

- The understanding of the effects (and feedback loops) of policies and institutional designs, over land use, ecosystems, biodiversity and the environment, using Earth Observation tools and spatial analysis.

- The collaborative dissemination of research findings through a diversity of academic, technical and audiovisual outlets, directed at policy and decision makers from the public and private sectors and society in general.

Using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, my methodological approach is based on the case study method and institutional analysis. Rooted in complexity science, I apply a combination of insights from different theories, including:

- transition theory to sustainable development;
- resilience theory and the adaptive cycle and maladaptive traps heuristics;
- neo-institutionalism concepts, in particular path dependence and its neoclassical-economics core;
- entrepreneurship and discourse analysis in its relationship with institutions, politics and power.

Two analytical spearheads guide my current thought, reflecting, in my opinion, the two conceptual spheres of the structure-agency dichotomy. At the structural level, there is a ‘politicised’ version of Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development framework, advanced by the colleagues Floriane Clement and Jaime M. Amezaga. At the level of human agency, there is the work of Frances Westley’s theoretical work on social innovation and transformative agency. To integrate both spheres, and time, into the analysis, I am guided by Margaret Archer’s analytical dualism. 

Design | Knowmad consultancy and facilitation

I enjoy working in the resolution of complex problems with other people, in design thinking mode. When in a consultancy capacity, my role is an analyst applying research-based ways for improving policy and decision making under uncertainty in different sectors: natural resources; nature conservation; ecosystem management; environmental, coastal and urban planning; biodiversity; fisheries; tourism; and emergency aid. Dealing with problems at different executive and management levels, I work collaboratively with multi-stakeholder groups including corporate, governmental and non-governmental actors using a wide variety of approaches to address uncertainty, competing interests, and different sources of risk and trade-offs among alternatives:

- Structured Decision Making.
- System Dynamics.
- Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping.

Since my work often requires prior processes of networking and building trust among stakeholders, I also have experience in facilitating and organising (individually or collaboratively) social interaction in meetings and workshops, sometimes in conflictive or competitive situations. When in a facilitation capacity, I use approaches and toolsets specifically tailored to address the situation at hand, identifying collective or organisational problems, devising solutions and strategies, and evaluating performance and results (e.g., Group Model Building, Focus Groups, Problem Tree Analysis, Strategy Tables, etc.).

Finally, I enjoy participating, normally on a voluntary basis, in entrepreneurial and social innovation processes that promote human rights or far-reaching change towards equality and sustainability at broader socioeconomic and political levels. In this respect, I am especially interested in initiatives applying novel approaches to entrepreneurship and innovation based on learning-by-doing, tinkering and experimentation like Lean Startup and Maker Culture.

If you are further interested in my work, please see my portfolio, current projects and publications.

If you would like to discuss a potential project or collaboration, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for your visit to my Digital CV.