Since its launch in 2007, SRC has developed into a world-leading science centre for addressing the complex challenges facing humanity.
The centre is a joint initiative between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at The Royal Swedish Academy Sciences.
We believe in the importance of reconnecting to the biosphere. We must stop considering nature as something separate from society because people and nature are truly intertwined in what we refer to as social-ecological systems. Development can no longer be done without an increased understanding of nature’s role for our own survival and well-being.
Our vision is a thriving and resilient Biosphere that enables well-being for all.
Our mission is to:
• advance the scientific understanding of the complex, dynamic interactions of people and nature in the Biosphere,
• train the next generation of sustainability researchers and leaders
• engage in collaborations with change agents.
Our vision and mission are accompanied by a set of underlying principles, as well as a collection of values and practices that guide the work culture:
• people and nature are deeply intertwined, co-evolve, and behave as complex adaptive systems
• many patterns, processes and dynamics of the Anthropocene are novel and must be better understood
• Biosphere stewardship can enable transformation towards resilient, sustainable, and just futures
Organizational values and practices that define our working culture:
• scientific rigor and integrity underpin all our work
• a collaborative, trust-based and creative working culture enables us to achieve impact
• learning, experimentation and reflection are promoted in all our activities
• diversity, inclusion, and care are principles championed across the organization
All our work is rooted in the science we do. This means our long-term credibility will always be based on putting science first. Our research is based on innovative methodologies and extensive collaboration across disciplines and with society at large. Our work on everything from healthy and sustainable food to the greening of cities and financial markets has spurred new thinking on sustainability within science, policy and business. We have created a work environment that attracts researchers from around the world and we publish in high-impact scientific journals.
Publications per discipline & publications in high impact journals
Annual number of citations
About 8 % of all our published articles belong in the top 1% of their academic fields, according to Thompson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators, a research analytics tool. Centre founder and science director Carl Folke is one of the world's most cited researchers.
The Stockholm Resilience Centre has emerged as a world leader in the conduct of interdisciplinary research on the dynamics of inter-connected social ecological systems. To have achieved this barely two years after its inauguration is a remarkable accomplishment indeed.
Professor William C. Clark, Harvard University, from the 2009 SRC “Start-up Review”
We offer interdisciplinary courses on Undergraduate, Master's, PhD levels of University education. We also offer an Executive Programme in resilience thinking designed for CEOs, chairpersons and executive VPs.
Our education programmes are considered among the best in Sweden. In 2013, the Swedish Higher Education Authority awarded our Master’s programme “Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development” its highest grade – “very high quality”. Among all 39 courses from 15 universities in the field of environmental sciences, only three received this rating. Of these three, only SRC's Master’s programme received the highest grade in all the sub-areas that were assessed.
The centre also currently employs more than 25 PhD students that form part of the SRC PhD programme. The aim is to produce future researchers who can expand knowledge to allow societies to understand and purposefully shape the biosphere for a sustainable future.
We have a long history of helping to navigate the unknown and bringing together the right people.
In 2011, SRC with partners organised and convened the third Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability. Along with 18 Nobel Laureates and dozens of scientists, practitioners and policymakers, members of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on global sustainability attended the meeting. Several of the conclusions from the symposium were later incorporated into the High-Level Panel’s final report Resilient people, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing.
Researchers from the SRC have since 2012 worked closely with the largest corporations in the global seafood industry in a quest to make it more sustainable. The collaboration resulted in the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship initiative. This initiative is the first time companies from Asia, Europe and the US have joined forces and committed to work on an agenda for change. It also illustrates how sustainability scientists can actively engage as change-makers.
At the 2015 Paris Climate Summit (COP 21), centre director Johan Rockström opened the major “Action Day” climate event in front of 1200 delegates. Leading up to COP 21, Rockström also led the work writing the Earth Statement putting forward eight essential elements the international climate agreement should include. Over 100 political, faith and business leaders such as Paul Polman, Richard Branson, Winnie Byanyima, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu signed the statement. The final agreement from Paris was considered a turning point for global emissions targets.
The Planetary Boundaries concept has, since its inception in 2009, become one of the most important frameworks for global sustainability thinking. Led by Johan Rockström, 28 internationally renowned scientists identified and quantified a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Transgressing them substantially increases risks of crossing tipping points in the Earth’s climate and ecosystems leading to abrupt or irreversible changes. In 2011, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the global society to stand behind the science on planetary boundaries:
Help us defend the science that shows we are destabilizing our climate and stretching planetary boundaries to a perilous degree
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Leaders’ Dialogue on Climate Change, New York, 20 September 2011
The SRC has also collaborated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led, global association of some 200 international companies. The collaboration specifically helped WBCSD to align their Vision 2050 Framework with the planetary boundaries concept. In 2017, SRC also became the scientific partner of a new project with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Swedish clothing retailer H&M Group. The project is part of the SRC’s ongoing efforts to downscale and operationalize the planetary boundaries framework.
SRC is the scientific partner to EAT, an international science-policy-business platform to reform the global food system. EAT is designed to bring together the stakeholders from the food industry to accelerate and scale up the work towards a more sustainable and healthy production and consumption of food.
Download Stockholm Resilience Centre Action Plan 2014-18 (pdf, 3.6 MB)
Download Mistra's mid term evaluation, 2013 (pdf, 995.4 kB)
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