Observa – Observatory of Environment, Territory and Society is a permanent interaction structure between scientific research and society within the ICS-ULisboa Research Group for Environment Territory and Society. The main objective of the ETS RG is to develop interdisciplinary research and a critical analysis of the social, environmental, territorial and governance dynamics underlying socio-ecological challenges, as well as the transition paths to more just and sustainable societies, with a vision to contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. It brings together researchers with academic backgrounds such as sociology, geography, planning, anthropology and history, among others.

The three main lines of research are:

– ENVIRONMENT and CLIMATE CHANGE, with a focus on social representations, socio-ecological and political implications of environmental dynamics, as well as on processes of mitigation and adaptation to climate change at local and regional scales. Involvement of stakeholders and communities is promoted in order to foster processes of social learning and self-organization in matters such as climate and coastal vulnerability, water and waste management, sea and biodiversity, public health and lifestyles, as well as the use of natural resources and socio-environmental equity. It also addresses the social and cultural aspects of energy: uses, acceptance of technologies, energy poverty, transformative energy practices (ETS RG website).

– FOOD, focusing on food security, sustainable consumption and production, urban food planning and agro-food practices. The researchers address innovative perspectives on: food insecurity and poverty centered on access and consumption; design and implementation of sustainable food strategies in urban areas and their interconnections with surrounding food basins and rural areas; historical processes of agro-food practices and their impacts on resources and ecosystems. Our research is interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, bringing together a diversity of perspectives from the social and human sciences, health and life sciences, and from pluralistic theoretical and methodological approaches. Several elements of ETS RG are part of ICS’ Food Hub (Food Hub website).

– URBAN TRANSITIONS, with research oriented for understanding the factors underlying the current socio-economic and ecological crises and for promoting public debate and political change. It focuses on analyzing obstacles to change for equitable and sustainable urban futures that prevail in worldviews, epistemological preferences, and problem framing. The research is intrinsically interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, striving to ensure an open, diverse and interconnected view of problems and solutions (Urban Transitions Hub website).

Research in the ETS RG is often done in collaboration with researchers from other scientific areas outside the social sciences and in international partnerships. Projects funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology and the European Commission, as well as several other public and private entities, both for profit and non-profit, are being developed. Members of the RG take part in the Interdisciplinary Thematic Networks and in College F3 Food Farming Forestry of ULisboa.

The ETS research group is involved in several ICS advanced training courses, with emphasis on the Doctoral Program in Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies, the Doctoral Program in Sociology: Knowledge for Open and Inclusive Societies, the Doctoral Program in Development Studies, and the Doctoral Programme in Sustainability, as well as Summer Schools. The RG has an important dissemination tool, OBSERVA Observatory of Environment, Territory and Society, which promotes training actions and seminars on policies and publish policy and research briefs and a blog, as well as a range of other knowledge dissemination activities to stakeholders and non-academic stakeholders (central and local government, schools, NGOs, companies, etc.)