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Research group

Centre for Blue Governance

A multidisciplinary group of researchers focusing on the interactions between people and the sea.

Research group

Centre for Blue Governance

A multidisciplinary group of researchers focusing on the interactions between people and the sea.



Political and environmental changes affect and alter the relationships between people and the sea. Centre for Blue Governance seeks to understand interconnected cultures and relationships to marine environments, space, and resources, and how political and environmental changes and their respective impacts manifest. The Centre analyses how coastal communities, governments, international organizations, and industry adapt to, seek to alter, and govern these changes. Through our research, we aim to advance social sciences in the field of blue governance and develop innovative approaches, both theoretical and applied, that align with the principles of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy.

The application of research:

We envision that blue governance should contribute to aims of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy. To achieve this, Centre for Blue Governance strives to:

  • Foster a network of scholars actively and effectively engaged in research on blue governance.
  • Advance the Centre’s reputation and legacy of IFM as a leader in marine social science, building upon fisheries and community-focused research themes.
  • Develop methodologies and theories that bridge disciplines and institutions to contribute to our aims of legitimate, democratic, and sustainable modes of blue governance. Effectively engage with society to ensure the relevance, use, and uptake of research to implement approaches and methodologies.

Research themes:

The interconnected, diffuse, and overlapping ways in which natural and human processes and activities take place in marine and coastal environments pose specific and unique challenges for governance. However, many governance arrangements are transposed directly from terrestrial contexts without proper consideration for these specific and complex differences. To address the multiplicity of challenges and the limitations of existing arrangements, our research is organized in three interconnected research themes: “Institutional dynamics in blue governance”, “Coastal communities in blue governance”, and “Democratic participation in blue governance”. Each research theme addresses legitimacy, democracy, and sustainability distinctly.

Institutional dynamics

Coastal communities

Democratic participation

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Who benefits from the research 

All users of the sea including those whose livelihoods and cultures depend on marine and coastal resources and access to and use of marine space, such as local communities, private industry, managers, policy makers, governmental bodies, and non-governmental organisations.

External partners 

  • Coastal communities and stakeholders in maritime sectors
  • Global network of universities
  • Global and national networks of public and private institutions

key projects


Head of research group
Associate Professor Kristen Ounanian
+45 9940 7372
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At the faculty, we have more than 30 research groups and sections with internationally recognized researchers who work in the areas of: planning, digitization, autonomous systems, communication and human touch.

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