The Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDG-2017) of the United Nations cover a wide range of complex social, economic and environmental challenges that all societies must address and whose success is closely linked to education, research and innovation and the leadership.

Education and research are explicitly recognized in several SDGs-2030 and both have an essential role to introduce and explain the ODS-2030 and its interconnection, as well as to measure its temporal advances.

Research is one of the basic tasks of the scientific and academic world, whose results are disseminated through specialized publications, teaching programs and informative activities that include temporary or permanent exhibitions in museums. The important collaboration between academic research, museums and scientific and cultural associations has been greatly strengthened by the incorporation of virtual techniques, which open new perspectives to present and transmit results in a more compressible and attractive manner.

Completed projects

The voice of Napo Quechua women: a documentation project with midwives and their social networks




  • To establish an ethnolinguistic collection of audiovisual data about women’s health and other gender-related topics in Quechua communities in the province of Napo, Ecuador.
  • To provide training in techniques to empower women who take part and to support them in achieving their professional and economic objectives.
  • To produce a trilingual film about specific themes to give voice to Napo Quechua women and their narratives of the history of life.

Research Team:
IP: Anne Schwarz (IKIAM);  Katia Sidali (IKIAM); María Eugenia Tamariz (IKIAM); Patricia Bermúdez (FLACSO-Ecuador); Trisha Netsch López (Pittsburgh University); Cristina Bernis and Carlos Varea (UAM- Spain)
Financing: IKIAM, (Universidad Regional Amazónica), Ecuador


Oral memory of life in huts and shacks, El Campo de Gibraltar (Cádiz, Spain)   

Goal: An approach to daily life and survival in the region of Campo de Gibraltar (Cádiz, Spain) during the 20th century, through in-depth interviews to inhabitants in shacks (or barraks, as local inhabitants name their houses) in urban living spaces, and small villages or scattered sets of huts in hilly rural habitations. The study focuses on two specific areas: the town of La Línea, an emblematic urban border zone with thousands of shacks registered in 1960 and with one of the highest population densities in Andalusia; and the extensive mountains of Tarifa as an example of rural and autonomous life.

The inherent instability linked to underdevelopment conditioned the families’ frequent relocations and housing moves, although they continued to live in self-built slums, either with natural resources such as reeds, branches, mud and stones; or with boards, jerry cans and cardboard obtained from the neighboring colony of Gibraltar. The architecture and urban planning of the region survives in the memory of these families and still shows in courtyards, walls and sidewalks of the urban areas, as well as in the converted country houses.

Researcher: Beatriz Díaz Martínez

 Funding:  Self-funding. The interview phase was partially funded by Antonio Escolar Pujolar, within the project “The other toxic fumes of El Campo de Gibraltar”.

More information: Memoirs.

Written material: The results are collected in two books that prioritize the voice of the families, supported with images (photos and designs) that walk the reader through the uses and characteristics of the household. In the book «Vivir en chozas» («Living in huts»), the author intertwines the study with her own biographical journey during the research, exposing the connection between the person and the object of study, which helps to understand the methodology that guides her work. Her second book is «Con cuatro tablas y cuatro chapas. Vivir en Barracas» («With just four boards and four plates: Living in shacks»). Both books are available in the links below.

Past and future of the rural world: Maragatería


  • To contribute to situating family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies on the national agenda.
  • To present, from a gender perspective, the contribution of women to the management of family farming, the health of populations and the sustainability of populations and ecosystems.
  • To evaluate the generational change and its consequences between 1900 and 2015.
  • To combine quantitative approaches to biology and reproductive health evaluated with specific indicators, with qualitative approaches based on the life stories of women over a period of 40 years.
  • To increase awareness of the abandonment of the rural world and its consequences for sustainability (through publications, seminars, conferences and exhibitions).



Changes in ageing, longevity and old age in Spain. From 50 to over 100.  Present and future


Gender is a category of social analysis built on the biological dichotomy of sex (man-woman), who are assigned roles with different social value. We analyse the differential transformation of demographic behaviour of women and men during the past century and temporal changes, in successive cohort studies throughout their life cycle and in diverse social contexts. We are particularly interested in the feminisation of old age, which modifies the characteristics not just of population structure but also of the social structure of our societies.

P. R: Rosa Gómez Redondo. (UNED)
Entidad financiadora: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación


The impact of migration on mother/child health from a gender perspective


To evaluate maternal-infant health in the Spanish population and among the most numerous groups of immigrants, whose women have given birth in Spain. Four kinds of indicators are used to provide complementary data on maternal-infant health: growth and development indicators, nutritional health, reproductive health and sexual health. Morbidity indicators and indicators of the use of the health service.

Data sources:

Microdata from the INE on births between 1996 and 2008.

Birth register from La Paz Maternity Ward 1995 and 2007

Anonymously collected clinical histories after previously receiving permission from mothers and the Hospital’s Ethics Committee.

Population surveys given to 1800 women who gave birth in the hospital between 2006 and 2008


Research Team:

IP, Cristina Bernis;  P. Acevedo;  M. Carmenate; P. Montero; C. Prado; C. Varea (UAM)

A. Gonzalez (Maternidad de la Paz)

Entidad financiadora: Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales (2006-2008)


Changes in reproductive patterns and their consequences for the health of women in Spain and Morocco

Cooperación internacional, Ministerio de Asuntos exteriores. IPs: Cristina Bernis (Dpt de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); y Abdelatif Baali, (Departamento de Ecología Humana, Universidad Caddi Ayad, Marrakech, Marruecos)

Tesis doctoral: Mohamed loukid, 2007. Vieillissement reproducteur d’une population féminine de la ville de Marrakech : Approche
anthropobiologique. Universidad Caddy ayad (Marrakech). Sobresaliente cum laude.



Ecology of reproductive ageing (II): interpretation of the differences between urban, rural and immigrant women. Objective:

To evaluate the predictive capacity of certain indicators of reproductive function during the life cycle, for previously identified profiles of cardiovascular risks and to evaluate their variability in rural and urban settlements according to indicators of living standards (socioeconomic, nutritional and physical activity).

Research Team:
For UAM: IP, C. Bernis, Silvia Arias, Azucena Barroso, Pilar Montero, Carlos Varea (UAM)
For cooperation by agreements with the Ayuntamiento de Alcobendas, Comunidad de Madrid (Hospital de Canto Blanco, Gynaecologist: Ángel García Triguero, Mammography: Drª A. Poza; Biochemistry Laboratory: Drª M. González, LoretaBustilo) Biochemistry Laboratory at Hospital Gregorio Marañón (Nieves López y Miguel Fernandez)
Funded by: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, FIS

Thesis. Silvia Arias. Long-term consequences of caloric restrictions: an evaluation in European women. Apto cum laude. Facultad de Ciencias. 1998 UAM


Ecology of reproductive ageing (I): evaluation of biological processes and epidemiological applications


To evaluate and integrate via four sets of questions, complementary aspects of reproductive ageing generally analysed independently from different perspectives:

1-Evolutionary perspective: Why do women lose their reproductive capacity when they still have a third of their life cycle before them?

2- Ecological perspective: What are the main environmental determiners which generate variability in the process of reproductive and at which stages of the life cycle can they be influential?

3-Health perspective: Why is their temporal and population variability in the prevalence of dysfunctions linked to menopause and certain non-transmittable diseases whose risk increases after menopause? And

4- Socio-sanitary perspective: How much unnecessary medicalisation is carried out on the process of reproductive ageing and what are its implications?

Equipo Investigador:

Por UAM: IP: C. Bernis, Silvia Arias, Azucena Barroso, Pilar Montero, Carlos Varea (UAM)
Por Hospital de Canto Blanco: Ginecólogo: Ángel García Triguero; Mamógrafa: Drª A. Poza; Laboratorio de bioquímica: Drª M. González, Loreta Bustilo). Convenios de colaboración UAM-Comunidad de Madrid y Ayuntamiento de Alcobendas.
Entidad financiadora: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, FIS.



Biosocial processes and gynaecological health in teenagers and peri-menopausal women


To find the variability of the biological processes linked to the menstrual cycle and sexual and reproductive health at the ages when the reproductive stage starts and finishes. To evaluate the real understanding that adolescent girls have about the biological processes of the menstrual cycle. To evaluate the prevalence of dysfunctions linked to the cycle which are mentioned by adolescents and women and their usual behaviour to cope with them, in particular those related to taking medication. To evaluate the possible effects of these habits on menstrual dysfunctions: diets to lose weight, smoking and drinking alcohol, and regular physical exercise. To describe variability in menstrual cycles during the last phase of the fertile stage, to evaluate the frequency of connected symptoms. To evaluate adolescent behaviour as regards sexuality, pregnancy prevention and STDs. To evaluate possible differences in all these aspects according to socioeconomic levels. To establish recommendations according to the results, which will serve as general guidelines in programmes of health education on menopause for teenagers and women.



Evolutionary and ecological anthropology

IPs: Richard Foley (Universidad de Cambridge, UK); Cristina Bernis (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

Financiación: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, ICE, Acción Integrada Hispano-Británica


Bernis C. The evolution of Human Biosocial Behaviour.  2000. International Journal of Human Evolution.
15(1-2), pp. 129 – 138.


2013 encefaliz _Varea bernis 2013



Ecological and social determiners of human reproduction: a comparative analysis of Moroccan and Spanish population

IPs : E mil Crognier, CRNS. Cristina Bernis, UAM.
Entidad financiadora: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, ICE, Acción Integrada Hispano-Francesa

Tesis doctoral: Carlos.varea, 1990.  Reproductive patterns and fertility in a traditional Moroccan population (Amizmiz,
Marrakech). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Sobresaliente cum laude.


Ecology in the Bay of Santander and its surroundings

IPs: Mario Gaviria, Genaro Daldá.
Investigadores: Ramón Lopez lucio, Juan López Baisson, Alejandro Moreno, Isabel López Lucio, Cristina Bernis
Entidad financiadora: Fundación Botín  (1973-1975)