Published 2020-05-07

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Civil society playing significant role in new Mistra call

After the summer, Mistra is to issue a new call for proposals. The objective is social transformation, focusing on climate, equality and digitisation. The means will be a research programme in which civil society and other stakeholders help facilitate the transition.

The UN has declared the 2020s the decade when we need to move from words to action in climate change mitigation. To achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, the innovative force of the entire community must be mobilised. This means that new stakeholders need to meet and collaborate.

In the new research programme for which Mistra is planning its early-autumn call, interdisciplinary research and innovation will contribute knowledge and solutions for a just transformation of society to mitigate climate change. Civil society may assume a key role in this transition.

‘Historically, civil society has played a major role in social change, both in Sweden and globally. In civil society, people often act fast in response to various social needs and we think there’s a lot for others to learn there. In this call, we also think it’s important to make use of innovation potential throughout society. We hope the stakeholders in civil society want to take a clear role in our upcoming programme,’ says Åsa Moberg, Programmes Director at Mistra.

Limit climate change and increase equality

The programme will start off in climate, equality and digitisation. Limiting climate change while contributing to greater equality at global and local levels are important objectives.

Moberg points out that in Sweden, despite its reputation for relatively progressive environmental and climate policy, the carbon footprint per capita is large. Moreover, since the 1980s, income gaps in Sweden have widened more than in other OECD countries, particularly between people born in Sweden and those born abroad. The differences between various regions are also growing.

‘We need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions drastically without increasing inequality and creating conflicts between various groups in society. It’s also interesting to study possible positive-synergy effects here, such as how measures that promote equality can also help to cut emissions.’

Digitisation can generate disruptive societal changes while bringing both threats and potential for sustainable development. Utilising the potential requires comprehensive and well-thought-out management of the social transition. Otherwise, new digital solutions may be created based on our former social structure, and thereby consolidate prevailing patterns of production and consumption.

‘Climate, equality, digitisation and civil society are four very important individual focus areas. We believe new insights can be generated by linking them together, studying and reviewing civil society’s methods and digital potential on a scientific basis. That will be a challenge, which is precisely why we see potential for a Mistra programme with this complex approach,’ Moberg says.

Mistra will provide the programme with funding of SEK 40 million. The call for proposals is scheduled for August 2020.