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Building Resourceful and Resilient Communities through Adaptive and Transformative Environmental Practice (RECOMS)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 765389

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Onno Van Sandick, Bente Knoll, Green City Experience, Shared Assets,
Bavarian Forst National Park, and Peergroup of Stichting


Dr Alex Franlin, Professor Moya Kneafsey, Dr Luke Owen, Dr Chiara Tornaghi, Mai Abbas, Sofia De La Rosa Solano, Sergio Ruiz Cayuela and Agnes Zolyomi


January 2018 - January 2022


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RECOMS is a Marie Sklodowska Curie (MSCA) Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission. It is comprised of a transdisciplinary consortium of scientists, practitioners and change agents from eleven public, private and non-profit organisations located in six European Union countries.RECOMS will train fifteen Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in transdisciplinary approaches to supporting resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. Through individual doctoral projects, collaborative learning and guided training, the ESRs will develop advanced skills and expertise in tackling social-ecological challenges such as how to transform urban and rural environments for the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities.

Drawing in parallel on visual and creative methodologies and forms of communication RECOMS will enable the ESRs to instigate transformative thinking and practice across a full range of stakeholders, as well as socio-cultural, geographical and environmental settings.

Fundamental to the scientific training within RECOMS is the application of a coupled social-ecological and critical lens to community resourcefulness and resilience, as complex, dynamic and process based, denoting the capacity of a system to change.

Restrictions in access to, exclusion from, or depletion of local resources, and retained or increasing problems of energy poverty, environmental injustice and food insecurity, are just some of the consequences of the unsustainable patterns of living, production and consumption provoked by processes of globalisation and uneven development. Climate change adds further complexity and vulnerability to this picture. It is the reason that a relational framing of community resourcefulness and critical evolutionary resilience constitutes the conceptual pivot of this training programme.

By critically engaging with the interlocking concepts of resourcefulness and resilience the scientific training will support the ESRs in advancing societal understanding of how to nurture the inherent potential of all local stakeholders to become involved in creating adaptive and transformative sustainability pathways. 

Co-supervised by academic and non-academic partners, the fifteen ESRs will be supported in undertaking doctoral research projects on differing dimensions, cases and contexts of resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. These projects will be organised around three interconnected themes: Unlocking and Empowering; Adapting and Transforming; Collaborating and Connecting. That is:

  • Empowering and unlocking the potential of vulnerable communities to become more resourceful
  • Strengthening the adaptive and transformative capacity of local groups through resourceful environmental practice as critical to building community resilience
  • Encouraging a more just and inclusive approach to stimulating community resourcefulness by nurturing broader participation in resourceful environmental practices.

A cross-cutting theme featuring across all consortium training events and ESR doctoral study programmes, will be the use of visual and creative research methods and techniques as a means of enhancing societal engagement, knowledge transfer and research impact. The consortium encompasses lead thinkers and practitioners in the development of socially innovative and participatory forms of creative and visual investigation and communication. 

Through a bespoke programme of advanced training events, courses, secondments and doctoral studies, RECOMS will enhance the Scientific, Professional, Personal and Transferable Skills of the ESRs. It will increase their mobility and enhance their career prospects as researchers, policy makers, facilitators, consultants, social innovators and/ or environmental educators.

The training programme is organised around a 36-month schedule of joint training events. This will include seminars, tutorials, small-group intervision sessions, two integrated action-based learning residentials (with a specific focus on community-led approaches to food sovereignty and sustainable energy), visual learning and communication exercises, symposia and two doctoral summer schools (open also to external participants).

The event-based training schedule will be complemented by an online guided programme of reflective learning, local training at hosting institutes (including compulsory training in and on-the-job training via two secondments). At least one of the secondments will be with a non-academic organisation. 

RECOMS will be delivered in accordance with the principles of transdisciplinary collaboration and open science. Creative and innovative communication and dissemination activities will be designed in a range of different formats and media (including a specific emphasis on visual outputs) to create awareness, stimulate transformative environmental thinking and drive knowledge exchange amongst public, private and third sector actors, and also civil society more widely. The knowledge and actions generated through RECOMS will be of value to a wide range of target groups, including specialist practitioners, community groups, third sector organisations and interest groups, government officials and other public sector stakeholders. 

  1. Coventry University, England (Dr. A. Franklin; Prof. M. Kneafsey; Prof. M. Pimbert; Dr. C. Tornaghi) [Coordinating Institution]
  2. Groningen University, Netherlands (Prof. L. Horlings; Prof. J. Arts)
  3. ILVO (Eigen Vermogen van het Instituut voor Landbouw en Visserijonderzoek), Belgium (Prof. J. Dessein; Dr. E. Kerselaers)
  4. LUKE (Luonnonvarakeskus), Finland (Prof. H. Vihinen; Prof. K. Soini)
  5. BOKU (Universitaet Fuer Bodenkultur Wien), Austria (Prof. I. Darnhofer)
  6. Rachel Carson Center, Munich University, Germany (Prof. C. Mauch; Prof. H. Rau)
  7. Rijkswaterstaat, Netherlands (Prof. W. Leendertse)
  8. Peergroup of Stichting, Netherlands (S. Wagenaar; G. Smidt)
  9. Shared Assets, England (M. Walton; K. Swade)
  10. Green City Projekt GmbH, Germany (C. Filies; R.A. Fuchs)
  11. Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany (Dr. M. Heurich)

The RECOMS project has been on-going for two years and the project is now in its mid-term. In the past two years, the project recruited 15 early stage researchers, set up a website and provided four training events on both academic topics such as resilience, positionality, agroecology and socio-spatial adaptation and creative methods including photography, exhibition making, video producing and theater skills.

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