Areas of expertise
Doctoral Student Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC)
Project Researcher Disruption Lab, Centre for Collaborative Research (CCR)
Hi! I am Marianna Birmoser Ferreira-Aulu, project researcher and doctoral student at the University of Turku (UTU), Finland. My long-term professional goal is to contribute to society by exploring innovative pathways towards just and sustainable futures. I intend to do this by producing high-quality scientific materials, by popularizing science to catalyse positive transformations, and by engaging with the civil society to collaborate with various stakeholders.
During the past five years, I have been working as project researcher in two departments in the University of Turku: the Finland Futures Research Centre, and the Centre for Collaborative Research. I have been engaged with various projects in strategic foresight, futures literacy, sustainability and climate action, renewable energy, food research, and international collaboration.
In addition to desk research, I enjoy doing workshop facilitation (have experience in Finland, Peru and Colombia). I have also been quite active in public speaking, by giving talks in various seminars and conferences. I also enjoy cooperating to developing the strategy of our own organization. I have represented UTU in international cooperation initiatives through international education services.
Since the beginning of 2021, I have also been pursuing my doctoral degree in Futures Studies. The working-title of my dissertation is “Building a Strategic Roadmap for Ecologically Sound and Socio-politically supported Conservation of the Brazilian Amazonia”. The research takes into consideration the local socio-political dynamics, the uniqueness of its peoples and its biodiversity. I look at the conservation of Amazonia as a wicked problem that needs diverse set of actions to attempt to solve it. This research topic is a continuation, and expansion of my Master’s Thesis, where I explored futures scenarios for the Volta Grande do Xingu, the region most affected by the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, in the East of the Brazilian Amazonia.
Projects & events Marianna has been involved in CCR (2021-)
Long-termism Across the Deep Demonstrations, Climate Kic 
List of projects & events Marianna has been involved in FFRC (2017-2020)
- Futures Literacy Across de Deep Demonstrations (FLxDeep) 
- Manufacturing 4.0 
- European Research Intrastructures in the International Landscape (RISCAPE) [2018-2019]
- Native Crops for Innovative and Sustainable Food Futures in Peru and Colombia (HEI-ICI PECOLO) [2018-2019]
- UNESCO Chair in Learning Society and Futures of Education 
- Bioeconomy and Justice (BioEcoJust) 
- Green Economy Transitions in the Least Developed Countries: Multi scale Analysis of Energy and Forest Use in Laos and Cambodia (GET-LDC) 
- Futures Fair – Celebration the 25th Anniversary of FFRC 
- “Futures for Food” Academic Conference - 15th International Conference of the Finland Futures Research Centre and the Finland Futures Academy, University of Turku 
Marianna is involved in the following research groups and academic networks:
- Amazon Research Team (UTU-ART) in the University of Turku.
- Global South Network in the University of Turku.
- Activist Research Network
- Cultural Sustainability 
Course assistant for the Master's Degree course, part of the Sustainable Development minor subject.
Responsible teacher: Dr. Katriina Siivonen
Summary of my doctoral research (2021-2025)
Building a Strategic Roadmap for Ecologically Sound and Socio-politically Supported Conservation of the Brazilian Amazonia
Global biodiversity is in crisis because of human activity. We transform landscapes, we use land intensively, we contribute to climate change, and we place biomes and ecosystem services at risk for our own benefit. Because of this we are causing a major reorganization of living organisms on planet Earth, and we may witness a mass extinction of historic proportions.
Tropical forests are one of the ecosystems most affected by our actions. The conservation of the forests and the sustainable use of land in tropical areas are critical to preserving global biodiversity and mitigating climate change.
Amazonia contains the largest tropical rainforest in the world, and its wellbeing is of paramount importance to alleviating the global climate crisis. The scientific community already understands the dynamics and the devastating effects of deforestation and forest fires in Amazonia, and science-based recommendations are widely available for decision-makers. However, national governments of the Amazon region have been oblivious to the environment and to the widespread criminal activities in Amazonia and are reluctant to put these recommendations into practice.
In my doctoral research, I propose to find new paths for the conservation of Amazonia. I want to find out what are the appropriate instruments and policies that need to be developed, and how to realistically put these into practice. Because both using and conserving the tropical forests are profoundly linked to prevailing socio-economic and political structures, effective conservation policies must be both ecologically sound and socio-politically supported.
This research combines academic expertise of futures studies, political sciences, and conservation biology, together with the knowledge of various local actors.
The final product of this research will be a strategic roadmap that includes various pathways towards more just and more sustainable futures for Amazonia. The roadmap will include action plans for various actors, and it is planned to be published both in English (for the academic community) and in Portuguese (for non-academic readers).
Various publications targeting different audiences are planned to be produced by the end of my doctoral training. For the scientific community, I will produce a compilation dissertation (a doctoral dissertation that compiles several scientific journal articles). And for the wider audience, I plan to write not only the final roadmap, but also smaller popularized articles and materials that can be used by conservation practitioners and advocates of environmental preservation.
This research serves as an expansion of my master’s thesis, where I investigated the socio-environmental impacts of the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, and where I developed four scenarios for the future of the region. Now, I continue to investigate the complex system dynamics of the region, but instead of merely forecasting possible future scenarios, I will also produce a roadmap for sustainability transformations that can make the desirable scenarios a reality.
Keywords: Futures Studies, Conservation Biology, Political Science, Amazonia, Strategic Roadmap, Sustainability transformation, Interdisciplinary Studies, Sustainable Development.