Automatgenererad bild.

15 April 2013

Stockholm Resilience Centre can start awarding doctorates

The Stockholm Resilience Centre is in a phase of change. Since 1 January 2013, the Centre has been part of the Faculty of Science at Stockholm University. During the spring, Mistra will evaluate the Centre ahead of the funding decision on the next phase, due to start in 2014.

At the end of April, people will gather to carry out the midterm evaluation, which has been initiated by Mistra for an initial meeting. At the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), this spells a great deal of activity.

‘We’re writing reports, drawing up action plans and compiling a comprehensive summary of what we’ve achieved in the past five years,’ says Thomas Elmqvist, Professor of Natural Resource Management at Stockholm University and SRC.
‘It’s important for the evaluation panel, but also for our own analyses. It’s only now, after five years, that starting to measure results in depth is feasible.’

Elmqvist thinks that SRC has been particularly successful in its outreach, informing people at every level of society about the research.
‘When it comes to publication and citation, too, SRC’s researchers show up extremely well in comparisons,’ Elmqvist concludes.

Go-ahead for postgraduate studies
Stockholm Resilience Centre carries out interdisciplinary research on various aspects of sustainable development of society, including social and ecological systems, studying human beings and nature as an integrated whole. The research is wide-ranging and spans disciplinary boundaries. From the start, SRC has therefore had an unrestricted role outside the usual faculty structure in Stockholm University. The idea was to link research from different faculties, but since 1 January the centre has belonged to the Faculty of Science at the University. This development, Elmqvist thinks, has both advantages and disadvantages.

‘The great advantage is that we can now provide our own postgraduate training. To date, the PhD students at the graduate school we run have been enrolled at various departments and faculties. In the future, most of them will be our own. That doesn’t by any means prevent us from also having doctoral students from the Arts and Social Sciences faculties joining in our postgraduate studies.’

Open to strategic initiatives
Another advantage is that SRC may be considered in strategic calls for funding applications and in faculty initiatives. Elmqvist summarises the disadvantages by saying that it may sometimes be hard to get a hearing for the conditions applying to interdisciplinary research.

‘But it’s been like this since day one. We may sometimes be seen as something new and a bit alien in the fairly traditional university structure. But this has been the idea of the Centre: helping to renew and modernise the academic structure.’

Elmqvist is optimistic about SRC’s future: ‘A great deal, of course, depends on the outcome of the evaluation. But I think we’ve been successful, irrespective of how one measures it. These five years have seen amazing expansion.’

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