Dr Marie Ferré

Dr Marie Ferré


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment and Impact evaluator for the Yorkshire integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP).

Before working in Leeds, I conducted a PhD research project at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, cutting across environmental and behavioural/experimental economics. The PhD focused on the issue of peat soil degradation that causes substantial negative environmental externalities. It analysed policy instruments that could promote the adoption of sustainable use of these soils and the preservation of the remaining carbon stock. Using a framed computerized experiment depicting the decision-situation of farmers operating on peat soils in Switzerland, the porject investigated their potential behaviour when facing the trade-off between adopting sustainable use versus continuing current practice. The impacts of various agri-environmental payments in solving the issue were compared. Previous to this, I did a master in agricultural economics and rural development (IMRD-Atlantis). As part of my master thesis, I investigated the potential suitability of “environmental cooperatives” in a US context, following the Dutch model. In parallel to this master, I have a diploma of agronomic engineer from Agrocampus-Ouest Rennes, France.


Cost-benefit analysis, game theory, impact evaluation (impact indicator development, theory of change), network analysis, survey design, interviews.

Recent Projects:

I am involved in examining the socio-economic impacts arising from research in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire integrated Catchment Programme (iCASP) focuses on translating environmental science into useful tools and processes to create social and economic benefits to the region. Through stakeholder engagement in the catchment and the creation of a culture of working together, iCASP aims at fostering integrated catchment management and generating transformative impacts. I am responsible for guiding iCASP projects in monitoring and measuring their impacts, and evaluating the various impacts of the programme. Besides, I am conducting research on the impact delivery mechanisms and on the evaluation of impact from research.  

I have worked as Impact Translation Fellow for the Optimal Peatland Restoration Project (OPR). Using research to support multi-million pound investments in peatland restoration, this project produced i) a user-friendly digital model (DigiBog_Hydro) to inform where and what peatland restoration activities can do to optimise ecosystem service delivery, and ii) a User Guide providing an overview of methods available for valuing the benefits delivered by peatlands, and existing evidence.

I have worked for Think-Nature - Horizon2020 European programme, more specifically on the package that focuses on building a framework for nature-based solution (NBS) business models.

Scientific publications:

Ferré, M., Engel, S., Gsottbauer, E. 2018. Which Agglomeration Payment for a Sustainable Management of Organic Soils in Switzerland? - An Experiment Accounting for Farmers' Cost Heterogeneity. Ecological Economics 150: 24-33

Ferré, M., Muller, A., Leifeld, J., Bader, C., Müller, M., Engel, S., Wichmann, S. 2019. Sustainable management of cultivated peatlands in Switzerland: insights, challenges, and opportunities. Land Use Policy 87

Muller, A., Ferré, M., Engel, S., Gattinger, A., Holzkämper, A., Huber, R., Müller, M., Six, J. 2017. Can soil-less crop production be a sustainable option for soil conservation and future agriculture? Land Use Policy 69: 102-105

Tools – Guidance documents

Ferré, M. and Martin-Ortega, J. 2019. A User Guide for Valuing the Benefits of Peatland Restoration. An iCASP report developed in collaboration with Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Moors For the Future Partnership. https://icasp.org.uk/resources/peat-resources/

Okumah, M., Walker, C., Martin-Ortega, J., Ferré, M., Glenk, K., Novo, P. 2019. How much does peatland restoration cost? Insights from the UK. University of Leeds - SRUC Report


  • Impact Evaluator for iCASP
  • Postdoc

Research interests

Factors driving behavioural change with regard to ecosystem management; impact from research and its evaluation; socio-economic analysis of catchment solutions; design of agri-environmental payment schemes; agricultural policies; peatland ecosystems; environmental valuation.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • Erasmus Mundus MSc
  • Agronomic engineer programme
  • BA

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management