Sumernet

Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER) - Chiang Mai University

Mission
To conduct and coordinate high quality inter-disciplinary research on the relationships between human society and the environment that will make a contribution to improving ecological sustainability, human well-being and social justice in the Southeast Asia region.
 
Activities
  • We carry out field-based action research on the interactions between livelihoods, lifestyles and social institutions with the environment. This body of research tries to be critical and reflective while striving to listen to the needs and claims articulated by socially vulnerable groups.
  • We help design and coordinate integrated studies of environmental change in the Southeast Asia region. These involve multi-stakeholder and -author assessments, scenario building and integrated modelling.
  • We build partnerships with and between diverse research and development organizations. These networks of collaboration often negotiate and jointly pursue shared research programs that are a basis for comparative analysis, synthesis and learning.
  • We contribute to theory development through critical synthesis and re-conceptualization of relationships. Key themes include resilience, knowledge systems, and governance.
Needs
We selected the acronym USER because it reflects our philosophy of trying to do the highest quality research we can while keeping the needs of users, whether decision-makers or action-takers, in focus. USER is formally affiliated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at Chiang Mai University.