Empowering women to tackle energy poverty in the Mediterranean

An international project led by the ICTA-UAB, Engineers without Borders Catalonia (ESF), and the Catalonia Energy Research Institute (IREC) contributes to address energy supply problems in 1,500 households in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

Global fisheries could alleviate a global food emergency in extreme situations

A new international study argues that, if managed sustainably in advance, global fisheries could alleviate food shortages even after a nuclear war.

Tackling shocking decline in nature needs a ‘safety net’ of multiple and ambitious goals

Researchers from the BC3, ICTA-UAB and the University of La Laguna evaluate the criteria of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Restoring 30% of the World’s Ecosystems in Priority Areas Could Stave Off More than 70% of Projected Extinctions

A new report in Nature involving ICTA-UAB demonstrates that this measure would allow the absorption of nearly half of the carbon built up in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

Diet of pre-Columbian Societies in the Brazilian Amazon Reconstructed

A new study shows that hunting and agroforestry management, and not fishing, were the foundations of subsistence economy for pre-Columbian societies in the Amazon coast of Brazil.

Wildlife conservation undermines the rights of indigenous people and local communities in India

A new EJAtlas map launched by the ICTA-UAB denounces that the current model puts growth and gains before human lives and the nature it is intended to protect.

Ocean Warming and Acidification Effects on Calcareous Phytoplankton Communities

A new study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) warns that the negative effects of rapid ocean warming on planktonic communities will be exacerbated by ocean acidification.

ICTA-UAB economist Joan Martínez Alier wins the Balzan Prize for Environmental Challenges

Economist Joan Martínez Alier from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology  of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the winners of the 2020 Balzan Prize in the category of "Environmental Challenges: Responses from the Social Sciences and Humanities".

Indigenous People Essential to Understanding Environmental Change

An international research involving ICTA-UAB scientists shows how local and indigenous knowledge can help manage ecosystems and wildlife.

New publication in the MAGIC project takes a critical look at circular economy

With the world’s attention focussed on COVID-19, issues that were in the forefront of public concern just a few months ago seem to have magically disappeared.

Economic Benefits of Protecting 30% of Planet’s Land and Ocean Outweigh the Costs at Least 5-to-1

First-of-its-kind report involving ICTA-UAB researcher shows the global economy is better off with more nature protected.

ICTA-UAB awarded the "María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been accredited a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence Award for the second consecutive time by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Proyecto experimental de agricultura urbana, local y tradicional en Sabadell

El ICTA-UAB y el Ayuntamiento de Sabadell constituyen la comunidad FoodE, que reúne a todos los actores implicados en el sistema de producción alimentaria de la ciudad y en esta iniciativa.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care


Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
"Post-Normal Science in Practice - PNS5 MAGIC Session"

Date: 2020-09-22

"Post-Normal Science in Practice - PNS5 MAGIC Session"

Date: 22 September 2020

Time: From 15 - 16.30h CEST

Virtual event. Registration open: https://hopin.to/events/pns-5-symposium-1


'Post-Normal Science in Practice: Lessons Learned from the MAGIC project' is MAGIC's final scientific event. It takes the form of a special session at the 2020 Post-Normal Science Symposium (PNS5). The event consists of a collective reflection on post-normal science in practice, based on the experiences gained and lessons learned during MAGIC's research process. MAGIC is the first large-scale attempt to explicitly apply the insights of post-normal science to examine and debate the quality of sustainability-related policies in collaboration with the EU administration and other stakeholders. In MAGIC, a novel approach, quantitative story-telling, was developed and used to analyze the main policy domains related to sustainability, with the aim of identifying the co-existence of different narratives and story-tellings around these policies (some officially endorsed, some untold) and assess their plausibility.


The philosophy of MAGIC was grounded in two beliefs:

  1. New analytical tools based on complexity are needed to be better ‘equipped’ for handling uncertainty, impredicative and contingent relations and the co-existence of non-equivalent and non-reducible models.


  2. The creation of new and better analytical tools by itself is insufficient to improve the quality of the process of production and use of science in decision-making.  A more open and transparent scientific process – grounded in complexity theory – has to be embedded in socially-defined processes of decision-making; a process that is transparent in relation to the choices of: concerns and priority over concerns, problems and priorities over problems, perceptions of the chosen problems and their representations, solutions and preferences over solutions, implementations and preferences over implementations.


The results obtained were used to stimulate a reflection on the choice and the (lack of) plausibility of the different narratives with the stakeholders. What criteria should be used to assess the quality of the scientific process in a moment in which we may expect important paradigm shifts?  Do the discussions over sustainability tend to fall in the attractor of “socially constructed ignorance” because of the progressive inability of processing uncomfortable knowledge?

The special event counts with five speakers:

Mario Giampietro (MAGIC coordinator): 'Quantitative Story-telling & Uncomfortable Knowledge—Results from the MAGIC project'

Lorenzo Benini (European Environment Agency): 'Handling ‘uncomfortable knowledge’ in a boundary organization: Experiences at the interface between science and policy'

Kerry Waylen (James Hutton Institute): 'Questioning the role of academic experts in science-policy interfaces: reflections from engagement on sustainable agriculture'

Roger Strand (University of Bergen): 'The quality of policies in-the-making: Circular imaginaries'

Ângela Guimarães Pereira (EC-JRC): 'What did we learn from the interaction with EU institutions?'

and will be moderated by nobody less than one of the fathers of post-normal science, Silvio Funtowicz.


Join us at the PNS5 symposium on Tuesday, 22 September, 15:00 – 16:30. Video registrations of the presentations will be made available one week before the symposium on the PNS5 website. During the event itself, only the highlights of these registrations will be presented to allow more time for a collective discussion. 


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