Villarrubia Gómez


PhD candidate

+46 8-674 7862


Profile summary

  • Plastic pollution
  • Planetary boundaries
  • Global governance
  • Science-Policy-Society interface

Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez's research focuses on the global challenge of plastic pollution using social-ecological systems approach

Villarrubia-Gómez’s PhD is a collaborative project between the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Gothenburg University in Sweden, and in partnership with the 5 Gyres Institute in the US.

She is particularly interested in Earth System Governance and Planetary Boundaries, understanding the science-policy-society interfaces and their power dynamics, through the lens of intersectionality and environmental justice. Villarrubia-Gómez is a value-based scientist and sees science communication as a pivotal part of her research to reach broader audiences.

Villarrubia-Gómez holds an MSc in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development from Stockholm University and BSc in Environmental Science from Granada University. Before her PhD, she worked as a Plastic Pollution Expert for GRID- Arendal (a UNEP Partner) in projects related to the transboundary movement of plastic waste for the Basel Convention, and participated in a desktop study to gather knowledge to prevent and manage plastic pollution in the West, Central and Southern African coastlines in collaboration with the Abidjan Convention and United Nations Environmental Programme.

Villarrubia-Gómez has also consulted for international organizations such as the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

She is part of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) WG 40 on Marine Plastics and Microplastics, Assessing Risks Associated with Plastics in the Ocean. She is currently head of Stockholm Resilience Centre's PhD Group.

Main supervisor: Sarah Cornell, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Co-supervisor: Bethanie Carney Almroth, Gothenburg University
External co-supervisor: Marcus Eriksen, 5Gyres Institute

Key publications

Persson, Linn, Bethanie M. Carney Almroth, Christopher D. Collins, Sarah Cornell, Cynthia A. de Wit, Miriam L. Diamond, Peter Fantke, Martin Hassellöv, Matthew MacLeod, Morten W. Ryberg, Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, Zhanyun Wang, and Michael Zwicky Hauschild. Outside the Safe Operating Space of the Planetary Boundary for Novel Entities. Environmental science & technology (2022).

Eriksen, Marcus, Franco Borgogno, Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, Emily Anderson, Carolynn Box, and Nicole Trenholm. "Mitigation strategies to reverse the rising trend of plastics in Polar Regions." Environment International 139 (2020): 105704.

Villarrubia-Gómez, Patricia, Sarah E. Cornell, and Joan Fabres. "Marine plastic pollution as a planetary boundary threat–The drifting piece in the sustainability puzzle." Marine policy 96 (2018): 213-220.