Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stockholm Resilience Centre (2007; Stockholm; 150 staff;

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, for the sustainable co-evolution of human civilizations with the biosphere. 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.

Research Themes:

  • Stewardship: the social, institutional, economic and ecological foundations of multilevel governance that are successful in building social-ecological resilience, integrating systems ecology, geography, sociology, social network analysis, complexity theory, organizational studies and political science;
  • Landscapes: freshwater, food and ecosystem services in dynamic social-ecological landscapes;
  • Global Dynamics: local and regional drivers can generate intertwined global-scale challenges like climate disorder, ocean acidification, declining fisheries, or crises in energy, food, and water;
  • Marine: a broader and deeper understanding of the resilience and dynamics of marine social-ecological systems;
  • Regime Shifts: operationalizing regime shifts/abrupt change theory to inform governance and management of important mechanisms in social-ecological systems;
  • Urban-Ecological: ecosystem services, biodiversity, societies and humankind are included in analyses of urban resilience and sustainability.

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

Research Programs:

  • Complex Adaptive Systems – Aims to advance complex adaptive systems and resilience thinking and understanding of social-ecological systems by engaging with, testing, further developing and operationalizing related concepts, theories and methods.
  • Patterns of the Anthropocene – Studies the interactions between human activities and Earth’s environment, where local and regional drivers can generate global-scale challenges.
  • Biosphere stewardship – Analyses the social, institutional, economic and ecological foundations of multilevel governance that are successful in building social-ecological resilience.
  • Resilience Science for Transformation – Focuses on urban social-ecological systems, where ecosystem services, biodiversity, societies and humankind are included in analyses of urban resilience and sustainability.


  • 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.


  • Annual reports + SRC 10 years report for their anniversary
  • Research news and news & events
  • Extensive library of 1000+ books, policy brief, journal articles, proceedings, papers, reports, etc.
    • 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.

Leadership: Line Gordon (Director)

Budget: ~€5m/yr.

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