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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:
Core Methodologies are broad categories of methodological approaches that SRC doctoral students should develop an awareness of during SRC ‘s PhD programme. Some of these methodologies are covered in the required PhD courses, while others of these methodologies are expected to be developed during by the PhD student and their supervisory team during their PhD.
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:
PhD students are accepted to the SRC’s PhD programme in Sustainability Science when they are hired for a funded PhD position at the centre. These positions are usually highly competitive and multiple candidates are interviewed for each position. On average we hire about fivePhD students per year.
We announce PhD positions four times per year. The announcement dates 2020 are:
2- 23 April
27 August – 17 September
15 October - 5 November
PhD positions are usually funded from grants to SRC researchers. To discover if researchers whose work you find interesting are planning to offer PhD positions in the future you should contact them directly.
PhDs students are typically employed for four years. Salaries are about 25 000 sek/month. This is about 30 000 Euros/yr but may vary with exchange rate.
At SRC, as part of our transdisciplinary approach to training and research, we encourage students to work 20% (paid) on other SRC projects, which extends their PhD employment to five years of 80% PhD employment. This work is not required and indeed is not guaranteed for all students. However it provides students with experience that complements their research work. Students generally work with other SRC projects such as GRAID, SWEDBIO, Albeco, or help organizing various conferences or workshops.
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