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The SRC approaches sustainability science from the perspectives of complexity and social-ecological interactions in the Anthropocene, a new and novel global epoch in which the social and the ecological are intertwined. Based on this there are three key core propositions that provide the foundation for Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) research:
1. People are part of the biosphere
2. People and nature are intertwined within integrated social-ecological systems
3. People need to respond to, engage with, and purposefully shape the biosphere to develop a sustainable future.
We aim to produce researchers who understand this area of sustainability science and have expert knowledge within a specific problem domain.
The sustainability challenges of the Anthropocene require a transdisciplinary approach to science. We expect that students will develop usable knowledge, but not mastery, across the SRC’s key knowledge domains: complex adaptive systems, social-ecological systems, cross-scale dynamics, diversity, transformations and biosphere-based sustainability. The relative emphasis within these domains will of course vary among students.
Each of the six knowledge areas of the SRC embraces multiple conceptual frameworks, research questions, methods, and data. They are:
Resilience: the ability of a system to cope with change and continue to develop while maintaining its identity. Key concepts: systems-thinking, complex adaptive systems, regime-shifts, thresholds, feedbacks, adaptive cycle, panarchy
Social-Ecological Systems: linked system of people and ecosystems that emphasizes that people are part of nature and that the divide between social and ecological systems is arbitrary. Key concepts: agency, institutions, ecosystem services, ecological engineering, human ecology, ecological economics, mental models, social-ecological memory, and social-ecological learning.
Cross-scale dynamics: interactions across different scales, for example, between agricultural fields and monsoon dynamics, or between a neighbourhood and a city. Key concepts: connectivity, nestedness, hierarchy theory, panarchy, tele-couplings and tele-connections
Diversity: the variety, disparity and relative frequency of system elements. Key concepts: biological diversity, heterogeneity, modularity, functional diversity, response diversity, institutional diversity, polycentric governance
Transformation: a purposefully intiated reorganization of a social-ecological system. Key concepts: agency, opportunity context, transition theory, panarchy, adaptive governance.
Biosphere-based sustainability: a civilization in which humanity and the biosphere mutually support one another. Key concepts: challenges of sustainability, history of sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals, planetary boundaries.
Developing these competencies is expected to primarily occur through the practice of research by PhD students, guided and mentored by their supervisory committee. The development of these competencies is also supported by a set of PhD courses (for more info see below). The SRC also offers a varied annual stream of formal and informal seminars, events, and mentorship opportunities to help PhD students develop their core competences in concepts, methods, and analysis at the intersection of the social and ecological sciences.
The SRC has a special, productive, supportive research culture that relies upon four core research values: sharing, inclusiveness, respect and contributing to the common good.
The Core Skills & Core Methodologies of the SRC research school serve as a guide to map and discuss competence development of PhD students. Because students are working on different projects and have different goals it is unlikely that any two PhD students will have or wish to develop the same competencies. However, we expect all SRC PhD students to be at least “somewhat acquainted” (green zone) with all skills and methodologies presented below.
Core Skills are skills that SRC doctoral students should develop during SRC ‘s PhD programme. Many of these skills would apply to most PhD students, but at the SRC there is more emphasis on skills important to our synthetic and trans-disciplinary research environment.
These skills are:
We have organized methodological approaches into six broad categories each of which will be developed differently depending on student PhD goals and research.
These groups are:
The SRC has a special, productive, supportive research culture that is a key element of our success, and this culture relies upon four core research values:
Further information on PhD studies at the SRC is available in the SRC’s handbook for PhD students [link to handbook on intranet] and further general information on PhD studies in Sweden is available here
For further questions, please contact Garry Peterson, head of subject in sustainability science, firstname.lastname@example.org
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