skip to primary navigation skip to content

Eszter Krasznai Kovàcs

Eszter Krasznai Kovàcs

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

Research Associate, Sidney Sussex College

Eszter studies the political ecology of environmental management interventions, particularly for conservation, and is interested in the geopolitics of knowledge production



  • PhD: Farming for Subsidies: Lived Realities of Agri-Environment in Hungary, Department of Geography, Cambridge, 2014
  • MPhil in Environment, Society and Development – 2009 - University of Cambridge
  • Masters Environmental Law – 2008 – University of Sydney
  • B Science (Advanced, Honours) – 2007 – University of Sydney


  • Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship, 2018-2021
  • British Academy Small Grant 2018-9
  • Royal Geographical Society Environment and Sustainability Award, 2015
  • Thinkpiece Grant, The Nexus Network, ESRC & University of Sussex, 2014
  • Worts Travelling Scholars Fund 2011, Philip Lake Fund 2011, 2013
  • Gates Trust Scholarship 2008, 2009-2013
  • Half Blue, University of Cambridge, 2009 & 2010
  • Blue, University of Sydney 2007
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship, University of Sydney 2006


My research interests are varied. I started research in field ecology and moved into environmental law and policy-making in Australia, focusing on community-based natural resource management. My underlying motivation for engaging in these disparate fields was the common theme of the research-implementation and theory-practice 'gap' in conservation and environmental management, and for unpacking the issue of responsibility for environmental conservation and governance modes for sustainability initiatives more widely.

My PhD focused on these issues in the context of agriculture in the European Union and Hungary, where I drew from political ecology approaches to studying environmental management interventions, to probe how international ideas of rurality and conservation intersected with the cultural and political economies of a post-socialist state. The tensions and divergences between policy goals and discourses that can be widely ascribed as neoliberal, and their implementation through state agencies through tools of surveillance and auditing were investigated through a series of grounded ethnographies with farmers and government agencies, to ascertain how farming practice as well as farmers themselves have had to change as a result of European expectations and laws - as well as how the European project has aided in the strengthening of more traditional notions of the nation-state, as in the case of Hungary.

I am currently a postdoctoral research associate on the ESPA-funded project on the Political Economy of Water Security in the Himalayas with Dr Bhaskar Vira, wherein we critically examine small town urbanisation processes, links between rural and urban spaces, and how these intersect with water supply and livelihoods across a number of case study towns in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in Northern India, and in Nepal.


The publications listing will be loaded here from the University's research database...


  • Lecturer, Part 1A & 1B papers, The University of Cambridge
  • Guest Lecturer, Qualitative research methods, Corvinus University of Budapest
  • Supervision Tutor, Part IA, University of Cambridge, 2011 -

External activities

  • EKLIPSE Co-chair in Expert Working Group on Understanding Farmer Uptake: What measures deliber biodiversity through the Common Agricultural Policy? 2017 -
  • Co-convenor, Political Ecology Reading Group, Department of Geography, The University of Cambridge 2014-2015, 2015-2016-
  • President, Cambridge University Australia and New Zealand Society 2012
  • Green Officer, Sidney Sussex College MCR 2009-10, 2010-11
  • 1sts Women's Fencing team, University of Cambridge, 2008-9, 2009-10

External affiliations

Postdoctoral Researcher, Corvinus University of Budapest


I have served as a reviewer for Geoforum, Conservation and Society, Geography Compass, Environmental Conservation and Environment and Planning: D, Conservation Biology.