To conduct and coordinate high quality interdisciplinary 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.

Photo: USER


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.



USER Research aims to support efforts of pursuing sustainable and just societies. It is a pursuit because sustainability is a dynamic tension between environmental changes and social development at multiple scales that continually re-distributes benefits and involuntary risks. It is also a learning situation where we discover the limitations of what we know, and what we can decide, through research or practice alone. Our research is guided by four overarching or cross-cutting themes: knowledge, governance, gender, and resilience.

Photo: USER


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. The Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER) is formally hosted by the School of Public Policy at Chiang Mai University (CMU), Chiang Mai, Thailand.


18987716_1329598653762087_1973416817_oAquaculture adaptation to climate change in the Mekong Region aims to improve management of climate-related risks under current climate and strengthen capacities to adapt to changes in climate in the future.
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