Environmental social science
The Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG) started as an informal university research group in September 2004 in the Department of Environmental Economics, Institute of Environmental and Landscape Management (IELM) at the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of St. István University, Gödöllő, Hungary by a group of university professors and PhD students belonging to various disciplines ranging from agri-environmental engineering through economics to sociology. After the dissolution of the department and the institute in 2014 ESSRG continued as an independent research organisation owned by the previous members. ESSRG Ltd. has become a small research and development company (SME) established by researchers of different disciplines looking for autonomy and enjoying working together on the boundaries of environmental and social sciences. ESSRG aims to apply and develop social science research methods in order to assist communities and decision makers with their efforts whereby transforming our societies towards social justice and ecological sustainability.
Fellows of ESSRG are actively engaged in different global and European scientific networks, particularly the International and European Societies for Ecological Economics (ESSRG is the Hungarian contact point) and the Environment & Society Research Network of the European Sociological Association (participating in the scientific board), the Living Knowledge and the Science Café networks (acting as Hungarian contact points) and AlterNET, Europe’s biodiversity, ecosystem and ecosystem services research network (participating in the scientific board). Our team contributes to global initiatives, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) providing our time and experience to the work programme of different expert groups, task forces and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) of IPBES.
ESSRG nourishes a collaborative and cooperative research approach engaging various communities and stakeholder groups, while particular attention is being paid to those voices that are typically marginalised. The ESSRG team developed practical skills for managing conflict-intensive boundaries: action research methods and community development, participatory planning, conflict management and mediation competencies constitute an integral part of our capabilities and skills. ESSRG has developed special expertise in the science-policy interface for biodiversity conservation (including policy and institutional analysis, strategic planning, participatory planning for co-managing Natura 2000 sites, and deliberative valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services).