A leading international economist is set to kick off a series of lunchtime seminars into crucial rural issues tomorrow (Wednesday 8 October).
Dr Tom Kuhlman from Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands will launch the first in a series of 11 seminars hosted by the University of Aberdeen's Institute for Rural Research (IRR).
In his seminar Sustainability – interdisciplinary research in action Dr Kuhlman will discuss how we can measure social and economic sustainability alongside its environmental aspects. The context for this seminar is that, while agreed measures of environmental sustainability are comparatively well-developed, the same cannot be said of tools for measuring social and economic sustainability, which remain less developed.
Dr Kuhlman has novel ideas about using indicators of well-being in society, and he is working with the IRR's Professor John Farrington and other academics at the University to develop these for use in policy-making at the national and European Union levels.
His presentation marks the first event in the third annual lunchtime seminar series which will feature foremost academics from across Europe.
Dr Kuhlman said: "Policy-makers have a great demand for applied research, so as to protect themselves against unwise decisions, or, if that is not possible, at least against criticism. Often such research has to be interdisciplinary, since the real-world problems they deal with cannot be neatly confined within disciplinary boundaries. Our problem as scientists is that we are not necessarily good at interdisciplinary work. The pitfalls that we meet on our way can be exemplified by looking at a concept popular in policy, and therefore also in interdisciplinary applied research: sustainability, which has become a catch-all for desirable outcomes of public policies - environmental as well as social outcomes. We shall examine, therefore, how sound and how useful this concept is, and whether it matters if it is foudn wanting."
Future speakers set to provide insights into various key rural concerns during the fortnightly seminars include Dr Katharina Helming from the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape in Germany, Professor Geoff Wilson, leader of the Policy and Governance in Europe research group at the School of Geography, University of Plymouth, and Professor Ken Thomson and Dr Colette Jones from the University of Aberdeen.
Professor John Farrington, Director of the IRR, said: "We are delighted to welcome internationally renowned academic Dr Tom Kuhlman, to the University of Aberdeen to launch the first in what promises to be an insightful and thought provoking series of lunchtime seminars.
"From land use policies to food chain economics, the series presents a prime opportunity to bring together experts from across Europe to discuss and address some of the crucial issues that are currently facing rural communities and also showcase the world-leading research which is ongoing at the University within this field. Aimed at members of the IRR, researchers, policy professionals and students, it is hoped the seminars will inspire and engage audiences and encourage potential new collaborative opportunities."
Dr Tom Kuhlman's seminar will take place from 1 – 2pm, Room G15, St Mary's, King's College, University of Aberdeen.
Phillip Leat, Team Leader of Food Marketing Research, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) will present the second seminar in the lunchtime seminar series on Wednesday 22 October.
For full listings of the speakers presenting during the lunchtime seminar series visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/irr/Seminars.html or contact David Watts (href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>). Seminars are free and prior registration is not required. All are welcome.
The University of Aberdeen's Institute for Rural Research specialises in theoretical and applied rural research which promotes inter-disciplinary approaches to complex research and practical policy issues.