Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Manuel González de Molina
  • Email:

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Agroecosystems History Lab - University Pablo de Olavide (UPO)
  • Address: Ctra de Utrera, Km 1, 41013, Seville, Spain
  • Province: Sevilla

Research Area

  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SOC)
  • Environmental Sciences and Geology (ENV)

Brief description of the institution:

The Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla (UPO) is a public university. Unlike other Spanish universities, it has been constructed as a campus which permits strong interdisciplinary teaching and research and a flexible and efficient administrative body, which will be of notable support in the management of projects.
Research is undertaken by more than 80 groups and the vast majority of the University's academic staff are working in areas which are acknowledged as national and international significance. The University ranks also above the other Spanish universities for its quality certified doctoral programmes.
As for teaching the University has fifteen functioning departments of which some of them offer tandem studies.
The University fosters international research partnerships with institutions all around the world through networking and collaborative projects. Currently, the University is an active participant in several European-funded research projects. Moreover, since its creation in 1997 the University has acted as Host Institution for 35 Marie Curie fellowships and in many dissemination events, and in the last years four researchers have been conducted an ERC Grant, and one ERC-PoC Grant.
Moreover our young university is endowed with and known for providing the most modern equipment available to research and reporting teams: extensive use of IT and electronics on our extensive campus (140ha), teaching in other languages, contacts in business and professional fields, etc.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

The main objective of the Agro-Ecosystems History Laboratory is to promote an improved understanding of the function of agro-ecosystems in a historical perspective. This history is discussed as a form of applied knowledge that enables us to describe the ecology of traditional farming systems and thus the possibility to build more sustainable agriculture for the future.

The Laboratory was formalized in 2010 and is linked to the department of Modern History. Some members have been pioneers of Environmental History and Agroecology in Spain. They have participated in many research projects that have brought together historians, agronomists, ecologists, economists and anthropologists who have produced hundreds of publications on the History of Mediterranean Agro-ecosystems. They have also been active in the promotion and research of organic farming in southern Spain.

The Lab is the first step towards the consolidation of a team and a line of research with a clear and collaborative transdisciplinary practice in finding sustainable solutions to the current environmental crisis. Currently we are working on various national and international projects that analyse the flows of nutrient, energy and material of agricultural systems (1750-2000), following the theoretical approach and methodologies of Social Metabolism, the historical erosion of the Mediterranean olive grove; socioecological transitions in southern Spain since the late nineteenth century to the present, changes in the management of Mediterranean crops; or the study of environmental conflict in a historical perspective.

Project description:

Our projects have five interrelated aims: 1) characterize the long-term historical processes of socio-ecological change experienced by Mediterranean agricultural systems and agrarian landscapes; 2) specify their main driving forces, relating the use of energy, nutrients, water and other biophysical materials with the prevailing land-use management; 3) identify the major ruling forces behind these agro-ecological changes, such as land ownership and tenure, connection with markets, labour relations, income distribution, social conflicts or public policies; 4) assess the environmental impact of these land-use and land cover changes, especially from the standpoint of agro-diversity, biodiversity and resilience of cultural landscapes; and 5) develop new approaches and methodologies in order to highlight the relationships between the efficiency in socio-metabolic flows, land-use patterns and ecological functioning of landscapes.

To support this research, a deep historical and trans-disciplinary analysis is needed which requires assembling a great deal of interrelated datasets: 1) on biophysical flows moved by past and present agricultural systems, and urban systems as well; 2) reconstructing past and present land-uses by GIS digital maps made in the same study areas; 3) applying to these land cover maps a set of landscape ecology indices to assess their environmental state, generating new digital maps of ecological functioning; and 4) collecting large datasets on demography, landownership and tenure, inequality in access of natural resources, economic activity, collective actions or public policies performed in the areas analyzed, in order to build historical agency-based models able to explain the global socio-ecological change.


  • CV
  • Expression of Interest (EoI)

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