Paula Novo


  • West Mains Road, Kings Buildings, Peter Wilson Building

    EH9 3JG Edinburgh

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am an ecological economist with an interdisciplinary background in agriculture, development studies, and economics and policy. My research aims to understand human-nature relationships and environmental governance processes with the aim of supporting transitions towards sustainability. I use a mixed methods approach combining quantitative, qualitative, participatory and arts-based methods. I have conducted fieldwork in Scotland, Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua, Suriname, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa and Myanmar.



  • 2021 Understanding experiences with peatland restoration in Scotland. ClimateXChange & Scottish Government. £21,000.
  • 2019 – 2021 SRUC PI, Co-I, Resilient people need resilient ecosystems (RESPiRES). Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). £540,000.
  • 2019 – 2021 Co-I, Activating change on environmental governance through performance-based methods (PerformingChange). Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account £15,000.
  • 2019 Carrots and sticks: Incentives to conserve Hilsa fish in Myanmar. UK’s Government Darwin Initative. SRUC sub-contracted by the International Institue for Environment and Development (UK) to design, run and analyse results from a choice experiment. 
  • 2016 – 2021 Co-PI, Strategic Research Programme: Scottish Government Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Portfolio. Theme 1 – Natural Assets. April 2016 – March 2021.
    • Research Deliverable 1.1.4 – Soil management : Monetary and non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services from peatlands and social values in soil management. 
    • Research Deliverable 1.4.2 – Biodiversity Management: biodiversity governance and values systems. 
  • 2016 – 2018 Co-I, Usumacinta-ROC Project - Applying ecosystem services-based approaches to water resource decision-making: studying the risk of nature commodification in Mexico’s last free-flowing river. Newton Advance Fellowship, £71,500.
  • 2015 – 2018 Co-I, PROVIDE - Providing smart delivery of public goods by EU agriculture and forestry. EU-H2020 programme, 2.9 million €.
  • 2017 Peatland ACTION programme – lessons learned. ClimateXChange & Scottish Government. £20,000.
  • 2016 – 2017 Co-I, BREAD - Building Resilience in Ethiopia’s Awassa region to Drought. NERC-DFID, £297,095.79.
  • 2013 – 2017 Co-I, 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, £1.9 million.
  • 2013 – 2016 Co-I, Scottish Government Rural Affairs and the Environment Portfolio Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016, Theme 1 (Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity) and Theme 2 (Water and Renewable Energy).


  • PhD student co-supervision (2 achieved, 2 on-going): Silvia Edith Olvera, University of Leeds (2018- ); Christine Gaebel, University of Edinburgh (2021- ); Murat Okumah, University of Leeds (2017-2020); Charlie Langan, University of Aberdeen (2013-2018)
  • MSc students, dissertations: typically supervising around 5-7 MSc students per academic year. Around 20 supervised so far at University of Edinburgh / Scotland’s Rural College and University of Leeds.
  • MSc students, academic tutor: typically 15-20 students per academic year, University of Edinburgh.


  • Postgraduate level, course organiser and lecturer: Environmental Valuation, University of Edinburgh (2017- ); Ecological Economics Field Methods in Research and Practice, University of Edinburgh (2017- ).
  • Postgraduate level, guest lecturer: Foundations in Ecological Economics (Behavioural Economics: Alternative Models of Human Behaviour), University of Edinburgh (2017 – ); Water Resources Management (Water Governance), University of Edinburgh (2017- ).
  • Undergraduate level, Teaching assistant: Principles of economics, Technical University of Madrid (2012-2103).
  • Continuing Education, Teaching assistant: Theoretical elements of Environmental Economics and Ecological Economics, organised for visiting scholars from Universidad San Carlos, Guatemala, at Wagening University.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Technical University of Madrid

Award Date: 20 Nov 2013

Master, Wageningen University & Research

Award Date: 15 Jan 2008

Bachelor, Technical University of Madrid

Award Date: 15 Oct 2007


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