Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG)


ESSRG Ltd. is a small research and development enterprise (R&D SME), a company working on the boundaries of environmental and social sciences practising a transdisciplinary approach. ESSRG aims to develop social science research methods in connection with environmental sciences. Members of ESSRG have their professional roots in various disciplines ranging from agri-environmental engineering through to ecological economics to rural and environmental sociology. Currently, nine researchers (five senior and four junior researchers) work for ESSRG Ltd. The researchers who own and work for ESSRG are all employed at the Institute of Environmental and Landscape Management (IELM), Szent István University, Gödöllő, Hungary. ESSRG has developed a special expertise on biodiversity science-policy interface, conducting policy analysis, stakeholder engagement, and participatory planning and valuation. ESSRG also embarks on various community and stakeholder engagement activities by involving students and local people as co-researchers. ESSRG developed competencies, practical skills that are highly important for managing conflict-intensive boundaries. Action research methods and community development, participatory planning, conflict management and mediation competencies constitute an integral part of capabilities and skills developed and cultivated by ESSRG. ESSRG established and operates the first Hungarian Science Shop in 2005, and is part of the Living Knowledge and Science Café Network, which promotes public dialogues around socially relevant scientific issues.

Researchers of ESSRG are/were also involved in other EU Framework Programme projects, including FP6 projects such as RUBICODE (Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems, 2006-2008), EFSUPS (Exploring the Ground – Fostering Scientific Understanding in Primary Schools, 2006-2008); Marie Curie Research Training Network projects such as GoverNat (Multi-level Governance of Natural Resources: Tools and Processes for Water and Biodiversity Governance in Europe, 2007-2010), as well as FP7 projects like FAAN (Facilitating Alternative Agro-food Networks, 2008-2010), SciCafe (The Science Cafes Network, 2009-2012), CONVERGE (Rethinking globalisation in the light of Contraction and CONVERGEnce, 2009-2013), BESAFE (Biodiversity and ecosystem services: Arguments for our future environment, 2011-2014).


Key personnel

Bálint Balázs

Bálint Balázs founder of ESSRG Ltd, obtained his masters’ degree in Sociology in 2000 and in History in 2001, later he started his PhD in Environmental Sociology at  the Department of Environmental Economics, Institute of Environmental and Landscape Management, St. István University, Gödöllő. He is committed to the perspective of environmental sociology, environmental history, and the co-evolution of human and ecological systems. His current research is on the socio-economic conditions of sustainable agro-food systems. His research and teaching experience includes project based teaching techniques, qualitative research, organising science cafes, facilitating stakeholder dialogues.

Ágnes Kalóczkai

Ágnes Kalóczkai is an MSc agricultural engineer specialising in environmental management and she is a PhD candidate in Environmental Sciences. Framework Projects experience: FP7: CLIMSAVE

Dr. Györgyi Bela

Dr. Györgyi Bela, MSc in Economics, PhD in Environmental Sciences, Research Fellow at Department of Environmental Economics, Institute of Environmental and Landscape Management, Szent István University, Gödöllő, Hungary, and founder of ESSRG. Her research experience includes policy evaluation and analysis of biodiversity governance, climate change and protection of agro-biodiversity. She is committed to designing participatory processes and stakeholder engagement to link research with public policy reforms.