Since 2007 we have been conducting world class socioecological research on Samothraki, acknowledged by the Sustainability Award 2010 it received from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research. What started as a response to environmental degradation by concerned citizens some ten years ago, has developed into an ambitious and evolving research program, informing and informed by an alternative vision of local island development. A series of side-projects have been developed via an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to address the overall sustainability of the island system and are conceptualised as such. This transdisciplinary research aims to support the local population in its efforts to find more sustainable approaches to local issues. This initiative has received considerable media attention and the Sustainability Award in 2010. In 2016, it received the Austrian Ministry of Science Award for transdisciplinary sustainability research for supporting the implementation of an alternative vision of local development from the bottom-up.