1. Editorial

  • Irene Ring: Thanks to the members and friends of ESEE

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • Call for future ESEE conference organisers
  • Update on ESEE elections: Vote now!
  • Petition: Europe, it's time to end the growth dependency
  • Environmental Policy and Governance Journal - current issues

3. Hot topic

  • Tim Foxon: Brexit causes and consequences

4. Student spotlight

  • Ben Gallant: The importance of education to a sustainable transition

5. Events, jobs and publications

  • Job opportunity: Research associate/ Postdoc (Chair of Ecosystem Service), International Institute Zittau, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
  • Masters scholarships: Three full and 15 partial scholarships for MSc in Sustainable Development, Management and Policy, Modul University, Vienna, Austria
  • PhD opportunity: Blue green prescribing for a healthier popultion and a healthier water environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK
  • PhD opportunity: Finding the feel-good factor: Relating human subjective well-being to biodiversity, University of Kent, UK
  • Training opportunity: Oxford Spring School in Ecological Economics 2019, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, March 24th to 30th, 2019


1. Editorial

Thanks to the members and friends of ESEE73ca0eba-c929-45b3-a7ea-0e03820021f5.png

Irene Ring, Outgoing ESEE President

Towards the end of this year I not only look back on the last year, but to the end of my time in the ESEE Board: two terms or six years as ESEE President and one term as the Conference and Meetings Committee Chair. It has been a great time, thank you for all your support, but now it’s time to say goodbye.

Back in 2013, when I started as a President, I first intended to focus on the working structures of the ESEE Board. With Begüm Özkaynak as an excellent Secretary on my side as well as Nina Eisenmenger, and now Pinar Ertör-Akyazi, as very reliable Treasurers, it was a pleasure to follow up with the duties of running an academic society. Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská and Tom Bauler have been strong Vice-Presidents on my side and I am very glad that Erik is now running for President and Tom, also being the ESEE Editor of EPG, is standing again for Vice-President, to guarantee necessary continuity in work processes and functions. We have had new chairs and teams over these years for all four committees of the ESEE Board, for Conferences & Meetings, Education, Membership & Fund Raising as well as Publications & Publicity.

With a strong and motivated team, we set up a number of new initiatives: We have started a yearly call to support Ecological Economics Training Institutes since 2014; we have set up regular meetings of ESEE Country Contacts with the ESEE Board starting in 2014 before the ISEE Conference in Reykjavik and now regularly meet just before ESEE Conferences since ESEE 2015 in Leeds; we provided a structured overview of European master’s programmes that offer either a degree, or specific courses in ecological economics, as part of the ESEE 2017 conference newsletter in Budapest; a membership survey is almost ready to be launched; and our printed ESEE Conference Newsletters became ever nicer in design over the years with the highlight of the 1996–2016 ESEE 20 years Anniversary Bulletin, coordinated by Jasper Kenter. During my time on the Board, and thanks to very engaged local organising teams, we had great ESEE Conferences in Lille, Leeds and Budapest, and we are looking forward to another exciting ESEE conference in Turku next year. I am happy to say that I always enjoyed working with a very motivated and lively team, where all team members were and are actively contributing.

Looking forward, I am glad that we have a number of old and new, highly motivated candidates for various ESEE Board positions. So please cast your votes to support your preferred candidates and make use of your democratic rights. I would like to wish the new ESEE Board starting in January 2019 every success! Last but not least, I wish you and your families a peaceful and relaxing Christmas holiday and a Happy New Year!

2. News from ESEE and its members

Call for future ESEE conference organisers

ESEE holds its conference biennially. These conferences normally attract 400 to 550 social and natural scientists. Last year we met in Budapest, and Juha Hiedanpää and his team are currently busy organising next year's meeting in Turku, Finland in June 2019.

For 2021 and 2023, we are now looking for individuals / groups who might be interested in applying for organising a conference in either of these years. Organising a conference is an opportunity to highlight the profile of a research group (or several groups in a country). Don't worry if you don't have much experience in organising big academic events. The ESEE Board offers advice and support based on past experience and key points have been summarised in a conference handbook. We encourage people with enthusiasm for the field of ecological economics and for bringing people together to express an interest.

If you are interested, please send an Expression of Interest by 15 February 2019 to Tim Foxon, ESEE Conference Committee Chair, at - Your proposal should include:

1. Contact information of point person and other already committed members of the local organising committee (LOC) (individuals and groups in the host location or country willing to help organising the conference). List all individuals that you would like to involve in the conference committee and any staff resources for local assistance in organising the conference logistically.

2. Proposed location: Please identify a suitable meeting venue that can accommodate up to at least 450 conference participants. The proposed meeting facilities must be able to accommodate the following: Plenary sessions, about 10 concurrent sessions, poster and exhibition area, information and registration desk, receptions, catering area and other potential functions, such as computer and internet access, student workshops, and other small meeting rooms.

3. Accessibility and lodging: Please describe transportation and lodging options and ease of conference site. The location of the conference venue should be reasonably accessible for international and national participants and not too costly or time-consuming. Accommodation should be available in broad price and quality ranges for all conference participants.

4. Finance, potential sponsorships and in-kind support: The LOC is responsible for all financial aspects linked with the administration and organisation of the conference, which should be self-financing. Besides conference registration fees, sponsoring and in-kind support may play an important role. It is advisable that the LOC organises fund-raising activities: financial, scholarships, and in-kind contributions towards the conference are welcome. Please describe your ideas in this respect.

5. Amenities of the location: including restaurants, arts, recreation and other attractions.

6. Sustainability and environmental advantages: please list the advantages your site and conference can offer in this area. This can refer to offerings by local hotels, food and waste options, (public) transportation, etc.

7. Previous experience in organising scientific meetings or conferences: Please list previous events with responsible individuals / groups (who are also members of the ESEE conference LOC) and participant numbers.

A proposer is not expected to have firm answers to all questions at this stage. However, these items are important as a first checklist for you and for the ESEE Board to decide upon future ESEE conference venues. A final decision for the conference venue of ESEE 2021 is expected to be taken by June 2019. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Update on ESEE elections: Vote now!

Dear ESEE members,

As previously announced, this year, the terms of office of the ESEE President, two Vice-Presidents and three Board Members are ending after three years. As we aim to fill these positions, the ballot for ESEE Elections 2018 is now open and will close on Monday, December 24, 2018 at 23.59 CET. ESEE members should have gotten an email with the information on how to vote.
Information on the nominees can be accessed at the ESEE website:
For questions/support, please do not hesitate to contact us:
On behalf of the Election Committee

Best wishes,

Begum Ozkaynak, ESEE Secretary

Petition: Europe, it's time to end growth dependency

The petition: ‘Europe, It’s time to end the growth dependency’ is going well and still open for signatures – could you help us out to get to 100,000?

At the Growth in Transition conference in Vienna in November, we handed the petition over to the vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, asking for a response and concrete action now.

This initiative was launched to coincide with the Post-Growth conference at the EU Parliament last September, when over 200 scientists sent a letter to the EU institutions and member states. The letter was published by The Guardian, and over 15 European newspapers. More details here

Please sign the petition, and spread it widely. It is available in 9 languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Czech). Anyone is welcome to sign it, scientists or not, European or not. A post-growth future concerns us all!    

Best wishes, 
Dan O'Neill (University of Leeds), Federico Demaria (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Giorgos Kallis (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Kate Raworth (author of ‘Doughnut Economics’), Tim Jackson (University of Surrey), Jason Hickel (Goldsmiths, University of London), Lorenzo Fioramonti (University of Pretoria), Marta Conde (President, Research & Degrowth) and 230 other academics. 

Environmental Policy and Governance Journal

Table of contents for current issues September/October (vol28/05) and November/December (vol28/06)

3. Hot topic

ESEE Hot Topic: Brexit: causes and consequences
Tim Foxon, SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex

To the bemusement of our European colleagues and of many of us here in the UK, despite the pressing social and environmental challenges that we face, the UK political establishment is currently consumed with the debate over ‘Brexit’ – the UK’s leaving the European Union (EU). As things stand (early December 2019), following the vote of the British people in June 2016 to leave the EU by a majority of 52% to 48%, the UK government has spent the past 2 years negotiating with the EU the terms of the UK’s leaving and future arrangements. This has led to a 599-page Withdrawal Agreement, setting out terms on things including mutual citizens’ rights, what the UK will have to pay the EU to honour its current commitments (around €44 billion), a transition period which maintains current trading arrangements lasting until the end of December 2020, and a so-called ‘backstop’ agreement to ensure that there is no hard border in future between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU). There is also a much shorter 26-page Political Declaration, which sets out the terms for a future agreement between the UK and the EU on areas including trade, security, consumer and environmental protection, and global cooperation, with the details due to be agreed during the transition period up to the end of 2020. However, it is looking increasingly likely that this deal will be rejected by the UK House of Commons when it is put to a vote of members of parliament (MPs) on 11 December 2018 (note: since time of writing this vote has been postponed until January 2019). This is because the deal makes the UK too closely tied to the EU from the perspective of ‘leavers’ and has too little detail on the future arrangements from the perspective of ‘remainers’ and those who want to maintain close trade links with the EU. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but there is at least a chance of a second referendum for the British people, where they could vote for the UK to remain in the EU.

So, how did we get to this? The roots of the UK’s vote to leave are deep. Firstly, UK politicians from both the left and right have failed over many years to make a positive case for the UK’s membership of the EU. This was fanned by half-truths and myths peddled by right-wing politicians and press, such as that the EU was banning British vacuum cleaners and bendy bananas. The truth was more prosaic. The EU was trying to improve energy efficiency of appliances and to ensure consistent labelling of produce for consumers, as part of its environmental and social regulations. Secondly, the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and subsequent austerity measures resulting in cuts to social services, led to many working class voters feeling ‘left behind’ by the political establishment, and so willing to vote for promises of ‘sunny uplands’ of prosperity based on trade deals with the rest of the world if the UK left behind the ‘dead hand’ of Brussels bureaucracy. Thirdly, an enduring myth of British exceptionalism based on folk memories of the Empire and wartime heroics. This fanning of populist discontent has also been evident in other European countries and in the US, where then candidate Donald Trump referred to his election campaign as ‘Brexit plus plus plus’. Indeed, the Cambridge Analytica data scandal revealed close links between UK independence politicians and right-wing activists, such as Steve Bannon, former advisor to Trump.

Of course, the EU isn’t perfect and could do much more to enhance its democratic credentials by being more responsive to public opinion and less supportive of the interests of financial institutions. However, it has kept the peace and greatly strengthened the ties between the people of Europe by enabling freedom of movement, and supporting workers’ rights and social and environmental standards within the EU, as well as promoting international agreement on climate change.

Of particular interest to academics is the opportunity to participate in cross-country research collaboration. The EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 provides about €80 billion of funding over 7 years (2014 to 2020), focussing on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. UK academics have secured nearly 15% of this funding, mostly as part of cross-country interdisciplinary research programmes. From a UK perspective, future participation in these types of programmes would be put at risk by Brexit with only vague promises to ‘explore participation’ and ‘consider conditions’ for research exchanges in the Political Declaration. Brexit would also jeopardise freedom of movement for European colleagues to come to work at British universities and for British academics to move to European institutions.

Some people would argue that more fundamental social and environmental change needs to come from the bottom up, led by social movements and local communities enacting alternative more progressive systems, and so the fate of the EU is not something to be so concerned about. However, this bottom-up change needs to be complemented by higher level action to rein in vested interests, for example, by imposing a financial transaction ‘Robin Hood’ tax to dampen financial speculation or by ensuring that large multi-national companies pay their fair share of taxes, areas where the EU has been trying to take the lead internationally, albeit hesitantly. Action at this level needs international cooperation and so we should be strengthening ties between countries and peoples, rather than separating us and engaging in further ‘race to the bottom’ competition.

There is still hope that the British people could choose to recognise the benefits of staying within the EU. If not, as President of the European Council Donald Tusk put it, the people of Britain and other European countries within the EU, as well as outside the EU, will remain “friends until the end of days”. Let’s just hope that the end of days doesn’t come too soon.


4. Student spotlight

The importance of education to 50e81c64-dd14-43d7-996e-25caa9f58909.jpga sustainable transition

Interview with Ben Gallant, PhD Candidate at the University of Surrey

Tell us about yourself.

I am just starting my second year as a PhD student with the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), at the University of Surrey. I have a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in Environmental Strategy. This multidisciplinary background helps me to approach my research quests from a range of perspectives. CUSP encourages this approach to research and is a great place to exchange ideas with researchers from a range of disciplines.

I am also a regional coordinator for the World of Work, a network of early career researchers promoting understanding of work and industrial relations.

What are you researching?

I work within the systems analysis strand of CUSP, which seeks to understand how economic dynamics impact the prospect of sustainable prosperity. My research focuses on the challenge of reconciling good equitable work with environmental limits. In theory, sectors with low productivity growth and low environmental impact could provide the basis for a sustainable economy, supplying jobs without causing harm. However, the current incentive structure does not support the workers within these sectors. Using a stock flow consistent modelling approach, I explore the implications of differential productivity growth and changing consumption patterns on income equality and unemployment.

If you were in charge of the world economy for one day, tell me one thing what you would do and why?

I suppose, I would start with education. Any lasting change to the economy will require everyone to be on board. Better education of political systems and critical reading of the news will allow people to more effectively hold their leaders to account. Additionally, transition towards a sustainable economy requires lifestyle changes that require a focus on values and understanding of environmental limits.

Education is therefore a necessary precondition for a sustainable economy and a step forward that cannot be reversed by future governments. Furthermore, education is a low impact, low labour productivity growth activity that can provide an avenue for human flourishing through interpersonal connection. I would therefore include continued education into later life.

Tell me one thing that you think many ecological economists don’t realise, but should.

While I don’t really feel that it is my place to tell ecological economists what to think, my suggestion would be to invite criticism. Many heterodox economists will tell you that the primary failure of neoclassical economics is a failure to acknowledge and respond to new ideas. The best way to strengthen your argument is to have it challenged regularly. This will help ecological economists to confront their preconceptions and raise the profile of the discipline. 

Interviewer: Sarah Hafner, ESEE Student Representative

5. Events, jobs and publications

Job opportunity: Research associate/ Postdoc (Chair of Ecosystem Service), International Institute Zittau, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany

A full-time position as Research Associate / Postdoc is available at the International Institute (IHI) Zittau, a Central Academic Unit of TU Dresden. The position is part of the BMBF project MORE STEP – Mobility at risk: Sustaining the Mongolian Steppe Ecosystem. This is an interdisciplinary project aiming to investigate social-ecological dynamics in the Mongolian steppe ecosystem in order to identify irreversible changes (tipping points) and their possible consequences. The current contract is for 36 months. In the case of success of the project, the position can be extended for a further three years.

Deadline: January 11th, 2019
Contact: Prof. Irene Ring,
Further information


Masters scholarships: Three full and 15 partial scholarships for MSc in Sustainable Development, Management and Policy, Modul University, Vienna, Austria

Scholarships are available for three Masters of Science programmes at Modul University, Vienna, including an MSc in Sustainable Development, Management and Policy. This program invites students from diverse backgrounds to explore sustainability through a multidisciplinary lens. It builds a high level of expertise among its graduates for analyzing conditions and problems related to sustainability and for effective solution design. Students are provided with a solid multidisciplinary background that draws on material from various fields including economics, governance, social psychology, environmental sciences, geography, and management.

Deadline: January 15th, 2019
Further information


PhD opportunity: Blue green prescribing for a healthier popultion and a healthier water environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK

This PhD introduces a new concept, ‘blue-green prescribing’, to emphasize both the specific health benefits that water environments (e.g. rivers, coastline) can offer (see e.g. Van Tulleken, 2018) and the fact that the water environment is most significantly impacted by pharmaceuticals. The project would combine the use of medicine-free interventions and the use of environmental criteria into a proposal for blue-green prescribing guidelines for Scotland to deliver an integrated approach that benefits in tandem human and environmental health.

Deadline: January 10th, 2019
Further information
PhD opportunity: Finding the feel-good factor: Relating human subjective well-being to biodiversity, University of Kent, UK

We live in a time of profound environmental change. Phenomena such as urbanisation and agricultural intensification are degrading ecosystems and decreasing biodiversity. Yet, while it is widely asserted in research, policy and practice arenas that interacting with nature is fundamental to human subjective wellbeing, there is little evidence characterising how biodiversity underpins this accepted truth. This PhD tackles this challenging problem by working across the disciplines of human geography, environmental psychology and ecology.

Deadline: January 08th, 2019
Further information


Training opportunity: Oxford Spring School in Ecological Economics 2019, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, March 24th to 30th, 2019

The School will address key elements of the new economy transformation, exploring the cutting edge methods and policy applications in ecological economics. With a clear sustainable development focus, it will draw on the expertise of a range of disciplines: economics, ecology, physics, environmental sciences, sociology, psychology, complex systems theory, etc. to address the current challenges: climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, water shortages, social cohesion and achieving sustainability. The course will be composed of a theoretical and applied modules and will address three key elements of the new economy transformation: an industrial ecology approach, multiple criteria methods for decision making and new tools for measuring progress.

Deadline: January 01st, 2019
Further information