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Profile summary

  • Sustainability transformation
  • Transformative spaces
  • Futures thinking, visions and scenarios
  • Food systems
  • Tipping points
  • African ecosystems

Laura Pereira’s work focuses on sustainability transformations in developing country contexts and futures thinking, especially related to the IPBES Nature Futures framework

Pereira is a member of the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes project and leads a Formas funded project entitled “Seeding transformative futures for people and nature in Africa’’. She is also a member of the Biosphere Futures project and co-leads the work on gastronomic landscapes under the IKEA Foundation project. Her previous projects have included the Horizon Europe project in collaboration with EAT called “Foodtrails” and the Hollandse Duinen project to operationalise the Nature Futures Framework led by Jan Kuiper.

Pereira co-ordinates the SRC’s module of the Bosch Stiftung Transformational Leadership Post-doc Academy and she is also actively involved in MSc and PhD supervision. She currently co-mentors two Post-doctoral researchers.

Pereira holds a DPhil in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Oxford. She completed her BSc (Hons) majoring in Zoology, Ecology and Law at the University of the Witwatersrand and read for an MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

She has worked as a post-doctoral fellow for the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute of Development Studies, as a Giorgio Ruffolo and Gundle fellow in sustainability science at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and as a post-doc at the University of Cape Town under the Bioeconomy chair.

Pereira has been a lecturer at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) at Stellenbosch University under the GRAID project, a research fellow at the Centre for Food Policy, City University of London and a senior researcher at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand and a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Pereira is currently an Earth Commissioner and a lead author of the IPBES Transformative change assessment and UNEP’s GEO-7 assessment. She was previously a member of the IPBES Task force on scenarios and models, a Lead Author for the IPBES Regional Assessment for Africa, and a review editor for the IPBES Values Assessment. She has also been a Co-ordinating Lead Author for UN Environment’s GEO-6 Assessment and a Lead Author for the GEO-6 Africa Regional Assessment.

Pereira sits on the scientific advisory board of Europe’s FACCE Joint Programming Initiative and South Africa’s National Research Foundation’s Global Change committee. She is a member of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) and a core member of the Mountain Research Initiative Social-Ecological Futures Working Group. Pereira sits on the advisory board of various projects, including the EU funded BioNext project.

Pereira has been involved in various media and communications activities, including:

Awards and achievements

  • Keynote address at Positive Tipping Points conference, Exeter, September 2022
  • Keynote address at 8th Cross sector social interactions symposium, Wageningen, June 2022
  • Keynote address at VIII Mexican Ecological Congress (VIII CMEc), Oaxaca, May 2022
  • Keynote address at Helsinki Sustainability Science days conference, Helsinki, May 2022
  • Plenary speaker Global Food Security Conference, December 2020
    Invited speaker at WWF Fuller Symposium on Systems Thinking, 6th December 2018, Washington D.C
  • ICSU Young Scientist/World Social Science and Future Earth Fellow
    National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa: Y1 rating
  • Giorgio Ruffolo and Gundle Fellowship in Sustainability Science at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
  • Oxford University Clarendon Scholarship
  • Commonwealth Scholarship


Liam Carpenter-Urquhart


Main supervisor

Publications by Pereira, Laura