Visiting senior research fellow

+46 8-16 20 00 (university switchboard)



Profile summary

  • Tree ecology
  • African dryland restoration
  • Multi-stakeholder co-design and co-production of scientific knowledge
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Local knowledge based natural-resource management

Deborah Goffner works in the Senegalese Sahel at the research-development interface in the context of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative

With expertise in plant biology and ecology, Goffner conducts research aimed at informing on-the-ground natural resource management decisions and interventions in the context of the African Great Green Wall project. As a visiting senior scientist at SRC, Goffner actively engages in discussions with SRC colleagues working in the African Sahel (i.e. Targeting Agricultural Invention (TAI), and more recently the GRAID programme) aimed at defining ways by which resilience, transformation theories, and complex adaptive systems thinking could be best applied to designing interventions that promote both environmental and human well-being.

Goffner is also research director in plant biology for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

She is also the coordinator of a French National Agency-funded project, FUTURE SAHEL; multi-scale approaches for best resource management practices of Sahelian landscapes in the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative context. Both SRC and the Senegalese National Green Wall Agency are partners of the FUTURE SAHEL endeavor.

Goffner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Delaware, USA, a Master of Science from the University of California, Riverside in plant biology, and a PhD from the University of Toulouse III (France) in plant molecular biology. She is currently a CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) research director in plant biology.

After more than 25 years as an internationally recognized plant molecular biologist, she made a dramatic career change within the CNRS in 2011. Combining her knowledge of agriculture and plant biology with project coordination skills, she now heads of a series of tree biology-related research projects in the Senegalese Sahel within the Green Wall context. She is the “Environment, Plants and Societies” research team coordinator in the international CNRS research unit n°3189 “Environment, Health, and Societies.” Thanks to her integration within SRC, applying resilience and complex adaptive systems thinking has become an essential and attainable goal. When not at SRC, she is geographically based at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.

Publications by Goffner, Deborah