Alicia May Donnellan Barraclough


Researcher, Postdoctoral Researcher


Research groups


Alicia Donnellan is a researcher associated to the University of Bergen UNESCO Chair. Her work focuses on the power of territorrial sustainability designations to catalyze collaboration for sustainability objectives. An example of these are UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, which she studies as social-ecological systems which are testing sites for sustainability and earth stewardship.

She is trained as a terrestrial ecologist, and now works as a sustainability scientisct at the intersection between the natural and social sciences, interested in progressing inter- and transdisciplinary research which is fair and equitable for people and land. Her work is informed by resilience and complex adaptive system thinking, which provide the backdrop for investigating examples of biosphere stewardship across the globe. Her research areas include ecosystem services and social-ecological networks, land-use change, biodiversity conservation, climate change resiliece, adaptive co-management implementation, and sustainable development goal (SDG) implementation. She also has a strong interest in group process work, young stakeholder concerns and political ecology. She was named spokesperson for UNESCO's Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme's 50th anniversary by Dr. Jane Goodall in 2021. 

She holds a PhD in Applied Environmental Science from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand (2014-2018). Additional to an academic background she has worked across the globe in the non-profit sector and in grassroots organizations. These experiences have given her rich understanding of the importance of connecting diverse fields if we are to rise to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Anthropocene.



Alicia led and taught the following courses during 2021-2022:

SDG215 - Life on Land

SDG110 - Perspectives on Sustainable Development


She is currently taking a break from teaching in Autumn 2022 and Spring 2023, but she occasionally guest lectures at SDG215, SDG110, SDG207 and CET201.


See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.


Alicia is currently leading the following projects:

BECOME - a Biodiversa+ Consortia invertigating the effectiveness of Biosphere Reserves as measures for inclusive conservation. 

ACTIONABLE  - and NFR-Samarbeidsprosjekt in arealer under press. A collaboration to understand the role of sustainability designations in helping collaboration and management of coastal areas and conflicts. 


Other projects I have also been a key researcher in are

Nature's Contributions to People in Nordhordland Biosfære 

Global Survey on Biosphere Reserves: participation, performance and land-use change in a longitudinal 10 year study of the MAB BR World Network 

Stewardship and youth - young peoples perspectives and roles within environmental governance and sustainable development initiatives.