ERC and EU logosPASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience: Global Lessons from the Margins) is an ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant starting in 2018, and running for five years.

PASTRES is hosted by the ESRC STEPS Centre at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and the European University Institute in Florence. It is led by Prof Ian Scoones (STEPS/IDS) and Dr Michele Nori (EUI).

Drawing insights from across three continents, we are asking: What lessons can we learn for global challenges from pastoral systems responding to uncertainty? We are working in pastoral areas of China (Qinghai), Italy (Sardinia) and Kenya (Isiolo), exploring responses to uncertainty in three areas: environment/resources, markets/commodities and institutions/governance.

Read more: Cases & themes

We will foster a conversation with other domains where uncertainty is pervasive, including for example: financial and commodity systems, critical infrastructure management, disease outbreak response, migration policy, climate change and conflict and security governance.

Our aim is to open up a debate about uncertainty, as fundamental to thinking about governance and policy in contemporary times, exploring new approaches both to understanding and response.

Read more: Global Uncertainties


PASTRES has four interlinked objectives:

  • Learning from pastoral areas to develop a novel cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for thinking and acting, focused on the relationships between uncertainty, resilience and development in the context of rapid change.
  • Exploring responses to uncertainties in environment/resources, commodities/markets and institutions/governance, and systemic, interlocked relations between these, in three pastoral settings in China, Italy and Kenya.
  • Facilitating a dialogue between marginal pastoral areas and others around fundamental challenges of systemic risk and uncertainty provisionally across six domains (climate and environmental change; financial and commodity markets; disease outbreak response; critical infrastructures; migration policy; and security and conflict), drawing out wider lessons.
  • Developing the capacities of a team of researchers and counterparts in three countries (China, Italy and Kenya) for policy-engaged, cross-disciplinary research and analysis, and developing a wider network across fields, all exploring uncertainty and resilience.

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