- Earth system science
- Integrative methods
- Global governance
- Environmental policy
Sarah Cornell's research focuses on global sustainability. She coordinates SRC’s research and international collaborations on Earth resilience
Cornell leads a transdisciplinary team of researchers who aim to characterize the global ‘safe operating space for humanity’ in applicable ways, and is active in the growing international community of researchers advancing planetary boundaries science together with practitioners who use the framework. She also contributes to the science-policy interface work of SwedBio.
Cornell has a research background in marine and atmospheric chemistry. She obtained her PhD in 1996 from the University of East Anglia, UK, where she did postdoctoral research on the global nitrogen cycle before moving into transdisciplinary sustainability research. She worked on integrated approaches to environmental management, mainly of wetlands and coastal zones. Later she turned to issues of global environmental change and sustainability.
She has combined her own research with international science coordination for several years, helping bridge various knowledge communities in environmental change science. And she has occasionally worked as a sustainability consultant, on issues ranging from local participatory processes for community planning up to global environmental risks.
Cornell is involved in several forums where science interfaces with policy, business and wider society. She has served as a trustee and vice president of the international Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology, a learned society and membership body for all marine professionals. She co-chairs the executive committee of IHOPE (Integrated History and Future of People on Earth), a Future Earth project. She is associate editor for the journal Environmental Science & Policy, and an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Critical Realism.
She teaches Challenges of the Anthropocene, an introduction to global change science and policy, in the SRC Master’s programme.
Throughout her career Cornell has championed university, national and EU initiatives to support women, working parents, and contract research staff working in science.
Awards and achievements:
- Contributing author and expert reviewer for IPCC Working Group II
Victoria Bignet, PhD candidate
Arne Tobian, PhD candidate
News articles with Cornell, Sarah
Research news | 2023-09-13
All planetary boundaries mapped out for the first time, six of nine crossed
For the first time, an international team of scientists is able to provide a detailed outline of planetary resilience by mapping out all nine boundary processes that define a safe operating space for humanity.
Research news | 2022-10-24
What is the future of synthetic chemicals and GMOs in sustainable food systems?
Synthetic chemicals and GMOs can lead to lock-ins and surprises in food systems that must be navigated in transformations to sustainability
Research news | 2022-09-08
World at risk of passing multiple climate tipping points above 1.5°C global warming
Human emissions have already pushed Earth into the danger zone. Five of sixteen identified tipping point may be triggered at today’s temperatures
Research news | 2022-04-26
Freshwater boundary exceeds safe limits
New assessment reveals dramatic changes to the global water cycle, with parts of the Amazon drying out