RECOMS  is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission. The purpose of RECOMS is to train 15 Fellows (Early Stage Researchers - ESR) in innovative, transdisciplinary, and transformative approaches to promoting and facilitating resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. RECOMS started in March 2018 and will run until February 2022.


2 Fellows are based in Vienna

The BOKU will host two ESR / PhD students, who will define their research project within the following topics:


Natalie Leung, who will be working on a relational understanding of farms as adaptive social-ecological systems

Objectives: Family farms depend on the natural resources and on the communities in which they are embedded. Often, these interdependencies have been severed due to pressures from markets and regulations. These have undermined the autonomy of farmers, as the power to decide how food is produced (and thus agro-ecosystems managed) is increasingly being transferred to input manufacturers, processors, and large retailers. As a result, the farmers’ ability to creatively reorganize their resources, to adapt, and to transform has been curtailed, which undermines their resilience. By reconnecting with the local ecosystem and with local communities, as well as by critically rethinking traditions, farmers can strengthen both their own and their community’s resourcefulness and evolutionary resilience. This project will explore how well a relational perspective on farms allows to capture and analyse the processes that build resourcefulness and resilience. This shift in perspective allows to emphasize change, adaptability, and transformation, as well as the need to root entrepreneurial initiatives in locally available (social and natural) resources.

Expected Results: Transdisciplinary insight into how reconnecting with local social and natural resources can strengthen farm and community resilience; Assess the potential of visualisation methods to empower farmers and communities, encouraging adaptive processes.


Jingjing Guo, who will be working on collaborative entrepreneurial action to manage coupled social-ecological systems for resilience

Objectives: Rural communities manage a wide variety of natural resources. Yet, the access to these resources and the distribution of their benefits is often unequal in the community, differing along gender lines, age groups, and ownership structures. This unequal access may reinforce broader rural challenges such as unemployment, hidden rural poverty, and youth outmigration. Moreover lack of critical reflexion on traditions often hampers the innovative use of resources, even when it would address community and broader societal demands. Collaborative entrepreneurial action can address these challenges, by engaging diverse stakeholders, strengthening resourcefulness, and transforming local resource relationships. This project explores barriers and opportunities for collaborative entrepreneurial action that is just, empowering, and restorative. Particular emphasis will be given to the potential of rethinking gender roles and of strengthening intergenerational connections to encourage innovative ideas, stimulate the reflexive questioning of traditions, and promote critical resilience.

Expected Results: Clarify influence of traditional gender roles and division by age groups as a barrier to rethinking the use of natural resources and to civic engagement; Guidelines on enhancing social justice in rural communities; Critical assessment of the use of visual methods as a means to strengthening resourcefulness and further enabling collective action.