PASTRES (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).

Download a summary of the project in French (PDF), Mandarin (PDF), Spanish (PDF) or Italian (PDF).


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.

Project partners

PASTRES is working closely with a number partners in its policy engagement and outreach work, including:

News and updates

For project updates, subscribe to our blog, sign up to the mailing list via the form on this page, or follow us on Twitter.


Seminar with Ian Scoones: Can pastoralists help us respond to global uncertainties? Institute of Development Studies, 9 January 2018

Webinar: How are the pathways to resilience in pastoralist areas of East Africa evolving? 10 January 2018

Resources, markets and institutions: what can we all learn from pastoralists living with uncertainty? Lecture by Ian Scoones at Bayreuth University, Germany, 16 January 2018

Can understanding pastoral systems help us respond to global uncertainties? Seminar by Ian Scoones at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany, 19 January 2018

Introducing PASTRES. Talks by Michele Nori at CIRAD, Montpellier and Aix-Marseille University, France, 13-14 March 2018

Living with uncertainty – learning from pastoralists. Seminar by Michele Nori, Department of Geography, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 24 April 2018

Presentation on PASTRES by Michele Nori, FAO Pastoralist Knowledge Hub, 30 May 2018

PASTRES seminar by Michele Nori, CaSEs seminar series on transdisciplinary approaches to human culture, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, 9 May 2018

Workshop with Michele Nori: ‘Adaptation des agro-écosystèmes aux changements globaux : plus de résilience et moins de vulnérabilité?’, Lyon, France, 4-8 June 2018

Talks by Ian Scoones and Jeremy Lind at the African Studies Assocation conference, Birmingham, UK, 11-14 September 2018

Seminar: Bringing moral economy into the study of land deals: reflections from Madagascar (video available), Mathilde Gingembre, IDS, 19 March 2019

Seminar: The Future of the World is Mobile: What can we learn from pastoralists? EUI, Florence, 10 April 2019

Seminar: Disciplinary Diversification in Karamoja: The Case of Charcoal, Matteo Caravani, 9 May 2019

Seminar: Pastoralism in the Arabian Peninsula – Reflections on contemporary challenges and adaptations to land use rights, Dawn Chatty, Institute of Development Studies, 11 June 2019

Lecture: Why embracing uncertainty means rethinking development. Ester Boserup Prize Lecture by Ian Scoones, Copenhagen, 14 June 2019

Workshop on ‘Researching Pastoral Mobilities: Exploring Methods and Frameworks’, Friedensau University, 18-21 June 2019

Lecture: Why embracing uncertainty means rethinking development and reimagining the future, by Ian Scoones in the CRC Future Africa series, University of Bonn, Germany, 14 November