07 February 2023

The Just Transitions graduate school, which focuses on management and organisation for a just climate transition, has been granted SEK 39 million over five years by Formas, the government research council for sustainable development.

Deforestation in the shape of a human fingerprint

The new graduate school has been established by four public and three academic partners and is led by Stefan Holmlid at Linköping University (LiU). In addition to LiU, the partners comprise the City of Gothenburg, Linköping Municipality, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland, Region Västra Götaland, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and the Urban Futures collaboration arena.

"It’s incredibly gratifying that we have received funding for this graduate school, with everything it will result in, from networking and the training of new cutting-edge scientists to direct participation in and contributions to the transition," says Stefan Holmlid.

The graduate school takes its starting point in the lack of knowledge and competence about what a just climate transition entails, and how it can be brought about in practice. For example, knowledge is required of how public organisations can build the capacity to lead and organise the changes that need to be implemented.

“A just climate transition requires new ways of working and interacting in the public sector. Driving such development is challenging and an ongoing learning experience. It is important to build knowledge and solutions and to reflect on these in close collaboration between research and practice. With a doctoral student closely linked to our operations, there is a possibility to improve our internal development. I also hope that through the graduate school we will contribute to national learning about how just climate transitions can be organised and effectuated in the public sector," says Marcus Jahnke, Head of Urban Environment at the Environment Administration in the City of Gothenburg.

The complexity of the challenges is great, and the problems affect many different societal actors, decision-making levels, disciplines and sectors, and extend across geographical, temporal and organisational borders. In short, the transition to a just and climate-neutral future means new types of governance, management and cooperation. It also involves exploring alternative options.

Seven doctoral projects

At the graduate school, knowledge and competence will be built through seven doctoral projects integrated in the public partners' operations and through the establishment of a Swedish platform for knowledge exchange on just climate transitions.

Linköping University will recruit three doctoral students in different fields of studies who will work together with Linköping Municipality and the County Administrative Board of Östergötland.

“The graduate school gives us a unique opportunity to build on knowledge from previous projects on transformative processes," says Harald Rohracher from Tema T - Technology and Social change.

In the City of Gothenburg, the doctoral project, in cooperation with Chalmers University of Technology, takes its starting point in the city's work on 'an equal Gothenburg' and 'an ecologically sustainable city'. In Region Västra Götaland’s project, a doctoral student from the University of Gothenburg will cooperate with the region in its efforts to drive the transition towards a more sustainable and competitive society.

Several of the doctoral projects are already open for applications and the remaining positions will be advertised in the spring.

Platform for knowledge exchange

The national platform for just climate transitions will be maintained by Urban Futures.

"We want to use the platform to build a transdisciplinary learning environment around the graduate school's issues that involves both research and practice. It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop and test forms of common learning about one of the greatest challenges of our time, which is fully in line with Urban Futures' activities,” says Kerstin Hemström, project leader at Urban Futures.

Read more about Formas and graduate schools in the area of sustainable community building at Så vill forskarskolor göra skillnad (in Swedish)

More information about the doctoral studentships can be found on the Swedish version of  Just Transitions graduate school 

More about the graduate school

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