Stockholm Resilience Centre

Founding Year: 2007

Staff: 150

Budget: ~€5m/yr.

Line Gordon (Director)

A world-leading science center for addressing the complex challenges facing humanity. Their vision is “a world where social-ecological systems are understood, governed and managed, to enhance human well-being and the capacity to deal with complexity and change. It focuses on the advance of research for governance and management of social-ecological systems to secure ecosystem services for human well-being and resilience for long-term sustainability. The center applies and further develops the scientific achievements of this research within practice, policy and academic training.

They believe in the importance of reconnecting to the biosphere and work against the notion that nature is something separate from society. They work inside of the social-ecological systems and base their activities on the belief that development can no longer be done without an increased understanding of nature’s role for our own survival and well-being. Their research is conducted within the framework of “planetary boundaries”—a key concept promoted by SRC.

The center is a joint initiative between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at The Royal Swedish Academy Sciences. It is mainly funded by Mistra, Sweden’s strategic environmental communication, science communication and education.

Current Research Themes:

  • Stewardship & Transformation: Explores the “knowledge systems, values, meanings, practices, behaviours, and governance arrangements that can contribute to fair and just sustainable futures”
  • Interacting Complexities: Aims to “advance understanding of how to address complex sustainability challenges by drawing on different complexity perspectives.”
  • Food for Resilience: Studies the ” prerequisites for and pathways to sustainable and resilient global food systems.”
  • Anthropocene Dynamics: Explores the “explores the implications of living in a time where humans are the main force for change on the planet.”
  • Resilience and Sustainable Development: Addresses the “challenges and the diversity of trajectories associated with sustainable development for all in the context of the Anthropocene.”
  • The Human Ocean: Aims to “shape new and emerging research frontiers to produce the best possible science for a more sustainable and equitable future for the ocean.”

Education Programs:

  • Interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses
  • Masters in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development
  • PhD program in sustainability science in addition to courses, seminar series, and workshops for postgraduates
  • Massive Open Online Courses on planetary boundaries and human opportunities, as well as resilience thinking in a development context
  • Executive program in resilience thinking designed to help companies identify new business opportunities, define priorities, and accelerate action


  • Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development (GRAID) – Through promoting an approach to sustainable development that considers the Anthropocene’s complexity, turbulence and speed, GRAID brings the worlds of resilience thinking and development practice together to explore these implications and their solutions.
  • Art and science – The use of art is an integral part of our scientific practice and our external and internal communication. Over the years, “ArtScience” has taken a multitude of forms and projects involving music, poetry, photography, story-telling and cooking.
  • Global Resilience Partnership – Hosted by the SRC and uses the concept of resilience to understand the drivers and impacts of complex issues to help communities, governments, the private sector, and development and humanitarian organizations ask different questions about the problems they are facing, thereby highlighting novel solutions. Focuses on four impact pathways: 1. Knowledge Brokering, 2. Policy Engagement, 3. Innovation and Scaling, 4. Business and Investment. Funded by USAid, Sida, DFID, and Zurich Insurance.
  • Planetary boundaries – A framework which “presents a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.”



  • Big World, Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries (2015, 208p., €20) – An important book by Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum that brings together science, photography, and storytelling to share the latest insights on the necessity, possibility, and opportunities presented by a new development paradigm—abundance within planetary boundaries. A concept that requires a deep mind-shift. “Not growth without limits. Not limits to growth, but growth within limits.”
  • Transformation is feasible (2018, 60p.) – By Randers, J. and Rockström, J. on how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals within Planetary Boundaries. The dual adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together with the Paris Climate Agreement, both in 2015, represents a global turning point. We have never before had such a universal development plan for people and planet.



Stockholm Resilience Centre contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

  Organization Type

  Geographic Foci


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