Marina Knickel

  • PhD StudentDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa

Contact Info:

  • 80 Via del Borghetto, Pisa

I have 5+ years of professional experience in various countries across the globe – Italy, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Latvia, Austria, China and Russia. During this time I performed diverse roles in sustainability research, business and education. By now, my research experience includes work in 4 EU-funded research projects covering a thematic spectrum from food systems and agri-food innovation to urban-rural linkages and digitalisation in rural areas.

Over time, my interest has evolved into pursuing an academic career in sustainable development bringing in experiences acquired in the private and public sectors. My research focusses on co-learning processes in transdisciplinary research around agri-food and rural-urban issues. I am particularly interested in the ways to strengthen research-policy-practice collaboration and the functioning of Living Labs approach in multi-actor research projects.

In 2018, I joined the Pisa Agricultural Economics (PAGE) team as a PhD researcher. During my PhD I have been a guest researcher at Wageningen University (the Netherlands) and Baltic Studies Centre (Latvia) working in two projects: Horizon 2020 project ROBUST on rural-urban relations and Interreg project Food Pro·tec·ts in the Dutch-German cross-border region Euregio Rhein-Waal. In ROBUST, I have led a task on monitoring and evaluation of joint learning processes in 11 Living Labs (research-practice partner teams). Until September 2022 I was supporting the PAGE team in leading a task on running 20 Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) and in co-leading work on monitoring and evaluation of the MAPs in the H2020 project SHERPA.

Starting from October 2022, I have started as a Postdoctoral fellow with the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Austria. In my work at the institute,  I will be focussing on the topic of knowledge integration in the theory and practice of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration in the agri-food and social-ecological research. I will remain a research collaborator with the PAGE team.

Research interests

  • Science-policy-practice collaboration and co-learning processes
  • Enhancement of transdisciplinary processes in agri-food research, and in the context of rural-urban relations
  • Role of academic institutions and innovation brokers in supporting agri-food innovation

Core competences

  • Transdisciplinary & interdisciplinary research in sustainability science: concepts, frameworks, methods & practice
  • Living Lab theory, methodology and practical implementation
  • Social Learning, Collaborative epistemic living space; Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning System
  • Qualitative & quantitative research methods (e.g. case study, in-depth interviews, surveys, focus groups, grounded theory)
  • Regional & cross-border innovation systems, agri-food innovation in the private sector
  • Website content management, science communication via social media

Current and past EU-funded projects

ROBUST – Rural-Urban Outlooks: Unlocking Synergies

SHERPA – Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors

See the list of all projects the group is involved in here

Recent publications

Knickel, M.; Neuberger, S.; Klerkx, L.; Knickel, K.; Brunori, G.; Saatkamp, H. Strengthening the Role of Academic Institutions and Innovation Brokers in Agri-Food Innovation: Towards Hybridisation in Cross-Border CooperationSustainability 202113, 4899. (Open Access)

Knickel, M.; Knickel, K.; Galli, F.; Maye, D.; Wiskerke, J.S.C. Towards a Reflexive Framework for Fostering Co-Learning and Improvement of Transdisciplinary Collaboration. Sustainability 201911, 6602. (Open Access)

Knickel, K.; Almeida, A.; Galli, F.; Hausegger-Nestelberger, K.; Goodwin-Hawkins, B.; Hrabar, M.; Keech, D.; Knickel, M.; Lehtonen, O.; Maye, D.; Ruiz-Martinez, I.; Šūmane, S.; Vulto, H.; Wiskerke, J.S.C. Transitioning towards a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy—Implications for Rural–Urban Relations. Land 202110, 512. (Open Access)

Knickel M., Knickel K. Instead of just talking we are actually doing it!” Initial insights into the use of Living Labs in the EU-funded ROBUST project | Article on the ROBUST website, 15 August 2018