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Profile summary

  • Human development
  • Ecological economics
  • Planetary Boundaries
  • Political science
  • Systems thinking
  • System dynamics

David Collste’s research focuses on the future of human development in the Anthropocene

Collste is a postdoctoral researcher at the Planetary Boundaries group. He studies feedback between human development, the economy, and planetary boundaries. Collste has a background in system dynamics, economics, political science, and resilience thinking. Collste co-leads the graduate module on systems thinking of Stockholm Resilience Centre’s Master’s programme and leads an undergraduate course in ecological economics. In his PhD thesis, he studied different approaches to assessing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Collste holds a joint PhD degree in Sustainability Science from Stockholm University and Economics from CERDI at Université Clermont Auvergne in France. He holds a joint European Master in System Dynamics from the University of Bergen and the New University of Lisbon, an MSc in Business Administration from Radboud University (Netherlands), and an MSc in Political Sciences from Uppsala University.

Collste works part-time to support the National Coordinator for the 2030 Agenda in Sweden. Before joining Stockholm Resilience Centre, he worked at the United Nations on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. He has also worked at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen).

Collste has worked on the project Economy and finance for a just future on a thriving planet commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Environment for the United Nations meeting Stockholm+50 in 2022.

He co-authored Stockholm Resilience Centre’s background report to the 2020 UNDP Human Development Report entitled Planetary Change and Human Development . He has contributed to Stockholm Resilience Centre’s involvement in the World in 2050 initiative that was launched jointly by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Collste is active in the System Dynamics international community and is a member of the Balaton Group - a global network for collaboration on systems thinking and sustainability. He is affiliated with the Millennium Institute where he has worked on the system dynamics-based model Threshold 21 iSDG. He is also a member of the System Dynamics Society.

Awards and achievements

  • Together with developers of Millennium Institute’s iSDG model, Collste received the System Dynamics Application Award in 2017, presented at the International System Dynamics Conference: Threshold 21 Model for Long-Term National Development Planning (with Steven Arquitt, Carla S. Assuad, Melak M. Ayenew, Gerald O. Barney, Santiago M. Blanco, Hans R. Herren, Maximilian Kleemann, Matteo Pedercini, Weishuang Qu, John D. Shilling and Gunda Zuellich)
  • Barry Richmond Scholarship Award for Systems Thinking 2015 (with Therese Bennich and Tom Bongers) and 2017 (with Conor Meehan and Therese Bennich)
  • Elected Sweden’s Official Youth Delegate to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2013

Current funding

Key publications

Galaz, V. and D. Collste (eds, 2022). Economy and Finance for a Just Future on a Thriving Planet. Report for Stockholm+50. Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University). https://doi.org/10.17045/sthlmuni.19792957

Collste, D., Cornell, S. E., Randers, J., Rockström, J., & Stoknes, P. E. (2021). Human well-being in the Anthropocene: Limits to growth. Global Sustainability, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1017/sus.2021.26

Collste, D., Pedercini, M., & Cornell, S. E. (2017). Policy coherence to achieve the SDGs: Using integrated simulation models to assess effective policies. Sustainability Science, 12(6), 921–931. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0457-x

Aguiar, A. P. D., Collste, D., Harmáčková, Z. V., Pereira, L., Selomane, O., Galafassi, D., Van Vuuren, D., & Van Der Leeuw, S. (2020). Co-designing global target-seeking scenarios: A cross-scale participatory process for capturing multiple perspectives on pathways to sustainability. Global Environmental Change, 65, 102198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102198

Pedercini, M., Arquitt, S., Collste, D., & Herren, H. (2019). Harvesting synergy from sustainable development goal interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(46), 23021–23028. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817276116

Publications by Collste, David