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Dr Paula Novo

Deputy Programme Director (MSc Ecological Economics)/ Lecturer/ Researcher 
Sustainable Ecosystems
Land Economy, Environment & Society

Research interests 

Environmental governance and management (water, soils & biodiversity)

  • Valuation, perceptions and use of the environment 
  • Resilience building and climate change adaptation
  • Water footprint analysis

Research Skills

  • Qualitative & quantitative methods (interviews, focus groups, participant observation, surveys, experimental games)
  • Visual & participatory methods (photovoice, participatory video & mapping)

My research focuses on the economics and governance of natural resources and includes work on the monetary and non-monetary valuation of natural resources, environmental governance and the application of experimental economics to explore individual and collective decisions in relation to natural resources. I use a mixed methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods and have conducted applied research in Scotland, Spain, Ethiopia, Mexico and Nicaragua.

Selected research projects

On-going projects are

  • Applying ecosystem services-based approaches to water resource decision-making studying the risk of nature commodification in Mexico’s last free-flowing river In collaboration with ECOSUR in Mexico and the University of Leeds – funded by the British Council Newton Fund Advanced Fellowship (2016-2018)
  • Peatland ecosystem services and social values in soil management Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (2016-21). Monetary and non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services from peatlands and social values in soil management.
  • Biodiversity management and governance Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (2016-21). Exploring existing governance experiences as well as perceptions regarding novel governance mechanisms. 

Other selected recent research projects are

  • PROVIDE – Providing smart delivery of public goods by EU agriculture and forestry. 
    EU-H2020 programme (2015-2018)
  • ALTER – Alternative Carbon Investments in Ecosystems for Poverty Alleviation: below-ground versus above-ground opportunities for the restoration of ecosystem services (Ethiopia & Uganda) 
    NERC-ESPA (2013-2017)
  • BREAD – Building Resilience in Ethiopia’s Awassa region to Drought 
    NERC-DFID (2016-2017)


Programmes Run
I am the Deputy Programme Director for the MSc in Ecological Economics (delivered collaboratively with the University of Edinburgh). The MSc in Ecological Economics seeks to understand the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability problems, and to understand the role that economic principles can play in moving towards a sustainable future.

Course Organised
Course organiser for Environmental Valuation
Contribute to lectures in ‘Foundations in Ecological Economics’ and ‘Field Methods’

I regularly supervise MSc dissertations within the field of Ecological Economics and Environmental Sustainability.

PhD students

  • Charlie Langan, 2013-expected 2017 (University of Aberdeen)
    Bogging down society- opportunities and risks for wetland investments for development and climate action.
  • Murat Okhuma, 2017-2020 (University of Leeds)
    Murat’s dissertation will focus on the effect of awareness on farmers’ behaviours in relation to diffuse water pollution.

Selected publications

Dr Paula Novo

Deputy Programme Director

Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG

Telephone: 0131 535 4037