Our areas of interest

IMSET: Our areas of interest

The Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions (IMSET) addresses one of the most significant global challenges facing humanity today: how we manage and respond to environmental change. It does this by exploring how past societies were affected by environmental change, how they responded and, therefore, what are the most sustainable options available to present-day societies under similar pressures. 

Find out more about our areas of interest: 


Understanding past socio-ecological systems

  •     How do humans shape the environment, and at what spatial and temporal scales? 
  •     What are the socio-economic and cultural impacts of ecosystem collapse and how do societies respond to it? 
  •     How did societies change their subsistence and economic strategies in response to environmental change?
  •     How has environmental and climate change impacted human mobility and migration?
  •     Are humans significant agents of change in promoting/degrading biodiversity and when, where and how does this occur?

Identifying tipping points

  •     At what point do human-induced socio-ecological changes outstrip our ability to adapt to them?
  •     Can we identify changes in population structure and social organisation, and link them to environmental, climatic, subsistence transitions?
  •     Are there any thresholds of human interference beyond which the environment cannot revert back to previous states? 
  •     What makes societies resilient to system transitions?

Informing modern interventions

  •     Can we identify traditional technologies and management practices that are useful in modern contexts?
  •     What do we need to know to inform, and change, current practices with a look to future sustainability?
  •     How can interdisciplinarity be encouraged in order to maximise potential of datasets
  •     How can we empower communities to drive change to sustainable practices?
  •     Why and how do people change their behaviour?