Our research themes and focus areas

Our research focuses on the Baltic Sea region, as well as regions in the Global South.

Our research is conducted within two research themes, divided into different focus areas. The two areas are:


Explore our dynamic environment

Welcome to the fascinating world of environmental dynamics! Our planet is in a constant state of flux, shaped by the interplay between natural systems and human activities. Human-nature interactions ripple across ecosystems, leaving an impact that reverberates from local to global scales. The exploitation of resources and rapid economic growth also serve as driving forces behind climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss, and a decline in ecosystem resilience.

Discover the environment theme

Our Environment theme serves as a bridge between natural processes and human activities, unravelling the intricate ways in which they shape climate, environment, and ecosystems across time and space. Delving into a diverse array of topics, our research explores the historical evolution and functions of our changing environment, shedding light on the effects of human activities. This knowledge is crucial for making informed decisions related to management, conservation, and policies geared toward cultivating a sustainable future.

Global research impact

Embark on a global journey with us to explore both marine and terrestrial environments. Our dedicated research groups delve into the complexities of environmental dynamics under global change, many with special emphasis on the unique Baltic Sea region. Click on the links below to dive deeper into our work and join us in our mission to understand, protect, and sustain our dynamic planet.


Elinor Andrén, Thomas Andrén, Martin Dahl, Patrik Dinnetz, Karin Ebert, Michael Gilek External link., Mats Grahn, Martin Gullström, Monica Hammer, Josefine Larsson, Kari Lehtilä, Mona Petersson, Tove Porseryd, Anushree Sanyal, Sara Sjöling

Doctoral students

Mohanad Abdelgadir, Thea Bisander External link., Sara Braun External link., Sara Forsberg External link., Hanna Lindell External link., Therese Janzén, External link. Elena Palenova, Christian Sommer External link., Patrick Spets, External link. Olena Vinogradova, External link. Kseniia Zakharova. External link.


Research projects conducted within the theme are listed here (additional examples are available on the researchers’ profile pages):

Sustainability Challenges and Pathways

The overarching theme of Sustainability Challenges and Pathways is divided into three overlapping and interrelated focus areas:

  • Governance and management
  • Development, justice and power
  • Transdisciplinarity and transformation.

Governance and management

Research in this focus area includes governance structures, planning and practices in marine and terrestrial regions, and managing habitats and ecosystems. This encompasses governance and management-related research into diverse socio-nature interactions about climate, forests, localised ecosystem services and urban environments. It seeks to contribute not only to our understanding of governance structures but also to respond to contemporary challenges through exploring sustainability-related ideas and practices

Development, justice and power

There is growing recognition of the importance of justice in sustainability and development, but how power relations generate inequitable conditions and undermine prospects for sustainability is a complex and context-dependent issue. As a response, this focus area comprises wide-ranging inter- and transdisciplinary research approach to human-nature-society interactions, including critical analytical approaches that engage with sustainability challenges, questions and opportunities for change. Research into democracy, conflict, state-society relations, governance processes, economic and identity-related inequalities, power relations, social inclusion, land and water use, and rural and urban livelihoods are the subjects of this focus area. In scrutinising sustainability challenges and possibilities, we emphasise the importance of societal and environmental justice, equity, identity and rights-based approaches, as well as knowledge about power relations, societal movements and analyses of cultural, epistemic, and ontological divides.

Transdisciplinarity and transformation

To meet sustainability challenges, now and in the future, transdisciplinary and transformative research is needed to develop sustainability pathways that are underpinned by scientific understanding. They should be embedded in resource-user and practitioner understandings and enabled through institutionalised action. This research seeks to generate critical insights into the obstacles and possibilities for increasing global and intergenerational equity, while respecting and conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which diverse socio-cultures depend for their wellbeing. Adopting a transdisciplinary and transformative research approach to exploring and examining sustainability pathways, necessitates dialogue between society (communities, societal movements and NGOs), companies, governmental institutions and academia, in and across different contexts.


Maria Bergman External link., Madeleine Bonow External link., Gloria L Gallardo Fernández External link., Michael Gilek External link., Monica Hammer, External link. Björn Hassler External link., Tomas Kjellqvist External link., Johanna Johansson, External link. Rickard Lalander External link., Kari Lehtilä, External link. Romina Rodela External link., Filip Roumeliotis External link., Fred Saunders External link., Nandita Singh External link., Sara Sjöling External link., Ralph Tafon External link., Ekaterina Tarasova External link.

Doctoral students

Helen Barbosa External link., Virginia Brenner Music External link., Bartira Fortes, External link. Oldouz Nejadibabadaei External link., Nikolina Oreskovic External link., Shivangi Shreya External link., Tatiana Sokolova External link., Charles Westerberg External link., Kseniia Zakharova External link., Erika Öhlund


Here are a few examples of research projects conducted within the research theme (further examples are found on the researchers’ profile pages):