Unit for
Social and
 Last Update: 16 Mar 2017
 Editor: Louis Lebel
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USER - Unit for Social and Environmental Research


To conduct and coordinate high quality inter-disciplinary research on the relationships between human society and the environment that will make a contribution to improving ecological sustainability, human well-being and social justice in the Southeast Asia region.


We carry out field-based action research on the interactions between livelihoods, lifestyles and social institutions with the environment. This body of research tries to be critical and reflective while striving to listen to the needs and claims articulated by socially vulnerable groups.

We help design and coordinate integrated studies of environmental change in the Southeast Asia region. These involve multi-stakeholder and -author assessments, scenario building and integrated modelling.

We build partnerships with and between diverse research and development organizations. These networks of collaboration often negotiate and jointly pursue shared research programs that are a basis for comparative analysis, synthesis and learning.

We contribute to theory development through critical synthesis and re-conceptualization of relationships. Key themes include resilience, knowledge systems, and governance.


We selected the acronym USER because it reflects our philosophy of trying to do the highest quality research we can while keeping the needs of users, whether decision-makers or action-takers, in focus. USER is formally affiliated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at Chiang Mai University.




AQUADAPT is a 3.5 year project carrying out research and assessment activities on aquaculture and adaptation to climate change in northern Thailand. The project is a collaboration between Chiang Mai University and Maejo University in Chiang Mai with inputs from the Department of Fisheries and Stockholm Environment Institute. AQUADAPT is funded by the International Development Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

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14 Dec 15 - 16 Dec 15
Canberra Conference on Earth System Governance: "Democracy and Resilience in the Anthropocene" Canberra.( ESG Project ) (288)

21 Nov 15 - 22 Nov 15
AQUADAPT 2015 Dialogue: Climate change adaptation and aquaculture in northern Thailand Duang Tawan Hotel, Chiang Mai.( USER, AQUADAPT ) (289)

1 Jul 14 - 3 Jul 14
2014 Norwich Conference on Global Environmental Governance University of East Anglia.( Earth System Governance Project ) (281)

7 Jun 14 - 11 Jun 14
World Aquaculture Adelaide 2014: Create, nurture, grow. Adelaide, AUstralia.( World Aquaculture Society ) (283)

4 May 14 - 8 May 14
Resilience 2014: Resilience and Development, Mobilizing for Transformation Montpellier.( CIRAD and partners ) (286)

17 Oct 13 - 18 Oct 13
Managing Water Resources under Climate Uncertainty: Challenges and Opportunities Bangkok, Thailand.( Asian Institute of Technology ) (287)