LiU professor Björn-Ola Linnér has been appointed head of a new major research programme in geopolitics and sustainable development. The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) is contributing SEK 48 million to the four-year programme, which has a total budget of SEK 58 million. The Stockholm Environment Institute is hosting the programme, which starts in the spring of 2017.

Researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the universities of Linköping, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala will be engaged in the programme. The consortium includes also German research institute Adelphi and British policy centre E3G. The programme will be led by Björn-Ola Linnér, researcher in the politics of climate at Linköping University and SEI Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute.

“The relationships between the US, Russia and China this autumn have shown how world politics are closely linked with the climate, environmental change, natural resource exploitation, and the conditions required for sustainable development. This research programme will make advanced study of these interconnected challenges possible. It will also make it possible to study the opportunities created for Swedish actors to contribute to welfare and global development,” says Professor Björn-Ola Linnér.

Geopolitics is a scientific field that includes several fields of expertise, studying the interactions between geography and international politics. The programme will take a Swedish perspective and analyse how global developments within politics, trade, resource exploitation and environmental science influence the conditions required for sustainable development.

“The programme unites not only research institutes, but also several Swedish government agencies, industry organisations and companies,” says Karl Hallding, research director at the Stockholm Environment Institute.

“We are looking forward in the consortium to investigating and analysing the policy decisions required to navigate through an increasingly uncertain future, one in which Sweden and Swedish actors have unique possibilities to contribute to sustainable global development, while at the same time strengthening Swedish competitiveness.”

The programme will work in five fields. Four of these will analyse the relationships between geopolitics and sustainable development from various starting points. The results of these will subsequently be brought together in the fifth field, one objective of which is to make visible the risks and opportunities that Sweden is facing. Eva Lövbrand, senior lecturer at Linköping University, is also a member of the programme management.

“The geopolitical landscape is undergoing continuous change. The programme is to deliver higher quality and more relevant information on which to base decisions than the information currently available,” says Johan Edman, in charge of the programme at Mistra.

At the same time, Mistra has awarded funding to a large research programme focussed on bringing Sweden to climate neutrality, and severely reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. This programme will be led by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Members of the consortium are four Swedish institutes of higher education, one of them Linköping University, together with overseas research institutes, many companies, and other organisations. Victoria Wibeck, professor at the Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental Change is participating from Linköping University.