Organisation profile

Organisation profile


The Centre for Blue Governance is a multidisciplinary social science research group focused on the interactions between people and the sea. Accordingly, we define blue governance as the formal and informal processes of collective decision-making, planning, deliberating, and capacity building by governmental, market, and civil society actors connected to marine and coastal environments. Through addressing issues of legitimacy, democracy, and sustainability in governance, we seek to improve understanding of the strategies used by people in response to social, economic, environmental, and political change. The Centre for Blue Governance is located at Aalborg University, Denmark, within the Department of Planning.

The legacy of IFM

The Centre for Blue Governance builds on the values and outstanding reputation of Innovative Fisheries Management (IFM) for social scientific expertise, analysis, and advice in international fisheries and marine governance. Founded in 1994, IFM began as an independent social scientific research and advisory institute working in fisheries management and coastal community development. In 2007, IFM merged with Aalborg University (AAU), becoming a research centre within the Department of Planning, with an expanded research focus beyond fisheries management to include other maritime sectors and issues of marine governance. This expansion has led to a new articulation of the group as the Centre for Blue Governance in 2019. The Centre for Blue Governance encompasses and promotes the social science and policy expertise and interests developed and held by IFM.


Political and environmental changes affect and alter the relationships between people and the sea. The 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 organisations, 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.


We envision that blue governance should contribute to aims of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy. To achieve this, the 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-focussed 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.


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Collaborations from the last five years

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