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Joint PhD seminars on environmental challenges

Research about where nature and society meet, and where environmental crises appear, is being carried out by PhD candidates across Lund University. Although they use different methods and ask different questions, their topics intersect in ways whereby meeting each other can lead to improved understandings, new collaborations, and an enriched research experience.

An escalator going down with mirrors on the walls and the ceiling. A photo.
Photo: Unsplash

The format: Each seminar consists of a panel of three current PhD candidates. Presenters speak briefly on an aspect of their research that relates to the seminar topic. This is followed by a panel discussion between the three presenters, supported by a moderator and inviting dialogue with the audience.

Upcoming seminars 2020

Matters of Scale: Wednesday September 2nd, 14.00–15.00, online

Research on global environmental challenges – such as climate change and biodiversity loss – have important scalar elements that researchers must take into consideration. For example, can research findings at one point of a spatial scale (say, in one municipality or on one field site) contribute to understanding at a different scale (say, downward to one neighborhood or upward to global fluxes)? To analytically move between the abstract and the concrete, and between the local and the global can both strengthen the research in terms of its applicability, but also requires a consciousness by the researcher to what that movement implies.    

Suggested reading: Christian Lund (2014) Of What is This a Case?: Analytical Movements in Qualitative Social Science Research. Human Organization: Fall 2014, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 224–234


James Hagan. Photo.James Hagan, from the Department of Marine Sciences at University of Gothenburg and the ClimBEco graduate school, will discuss biodiversity declines at different scales, what these declines mean and why it is difficult to answer questions like: "is biodiversity declining?" 
James' wordpress website

Julia Kelly. Photo.Julia Kelly, from the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research at Lund University and the ClimBEco graduate school, is exploring new ways to model and upscale the carbon fluxes of boreal peatlands and will discuss some of the challenges of estimating carbon fluxes when moving from one scale to another. 
Julia's Lund University Research Portal profile



Adrian Gustafson. Photo.Adrian Gustafson, from the department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, looks at the impact of climate change at the regional/local level in the arctic, thus needs to downscale large-scale global dynamic vegetation models to work on a smaller scale.
Adrian's Lund University Research Portal profile


The registration link to this seminar is found under the section Registration on this page. Welcome!

Interaction and knowledge co-creation with society: Thursday October 1st, 14.00–15.00, either online or campus-based (tbd)

Perhaps a more standard research process would be to share ones findings with stakeholders once the intellectual product (e.g. an article, chapter, policy brief) is complete. Yet some researchers, such as those presenting at this seminar, have the integration with non-academic counterparts as part of the research design, methods and thus the process of knowledge creation itself. What are some advantages and disadvantages to this research, and how do researchers meet challenges along the way?


Björn Wickenberg. Photo.Björn Wickenberg, from the International Institute for Industrial and Environmental Economics at Lund University, focuses on sustainable urban development in direct collaboration with Swedish municipalities and other interests in an effort to implement sustainable green and blue solutions in cities. 
Björn's Lund University profile


Johan Kjellberg Jensen. Photo.Johan Kjellberg Jensen, from the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research at Lund University and the ClimBEco graduate school, has 'interaction' as his catchword, both in terms of his research topic and how he approaches it. Johan studies the impact of urbanization on organismal health and biodiversity, where bugs and birds as well as people and policies are included.
Johan's Lund University profile


Darin Wahl. Photo.Darin Wahl, from the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, considers processes of learning as key components to sustainable change. Darin’s research is carried out in two parts: together with a local enterprise to devise innovative sustainability solutions for their production, and with an interdisciplinary team to compare and evaluate transdisciplinary urban labs in diverse contexts.
Darin's Lund University profile

Registration is required. Please see the section Registration for more information.


Previous seminars 

April 16th: Uncertainty in decision-making

How does one handle uncertainty in research? Especially when our research questions involve numerous disciplines and complex variables? How can methods and tools help to reduce or embrace uncertainty? And how should uncertainty be communicated when results are designed to be used in decision-making in society? This seminar on uncertainty in decision-making has its starting point in these questions. The invited speakers will each share their perspectives, coming from three different disciplines, but all of whom address some of the big environmental challenges of our time.

Alexandra Pongracz, (Dept of Physical Geography & ClimBEco) seeks to improve how carbon cycling in high latitudes – a process particularly susceptible to climate change – is represented in the LPJ-GUESS model. How is uncertainty presented in her methods and theory, and how can uncertainty be presented in results?
Maria Blasi Romero, (CEC & ClimBEco) takes the perspective of insects and looks at how one can predict pollinator abundance in the future, including extreme events, using scenarios. Uncertainty is inevitable in future scenario building, so how can risk and uncertainty be embraced and communicated to support decision-making?
Soo-Hyun Lee (Faculty of Law & the Agenda 2030 Graduate school) will share how the Sustainable Development Goals and indicators can be a tool for reducing legal uncertainties, thus increasing cohesion between international economic law and sustainable development.

December 5th: Values at the intersection of nature and society

As general reasoning goes, in order to include ‘nature’ in decision-making processes, the functions or services of that ‘nature’ need to be assigned a value in order to be included in making the best possible decision. But exactly what is to be valued, how to assign values and by which societal instruments value is allotted are all questions that need to be better understood, and this is the topic of our seminar. 

Sanna Stålhammar (LUCSUS) How values of nature has been approached within the ecosystem services paradigm as part of assessments, with a specific focus on social values.
William Sidemo Holm (CEC), Cost-effective nature conservation in places where interests of preserving species and food production collide.
Jessika Luth Richter (IIIEE) Value-making in her work on circular economy, looking at policy instruments for closing material loops and how stakeholders conceptualise and capture economic and non-economic value.

October 17th: Nature-based solutions to societal problems

Nature-based solutions from three different angles. 

Terese Thoni (CEC) is up-close with IPCC/policy-makers, Lovisa Nilsson (CEC) considers regional stakeholders and Stephen Woroniecki (LUCSUS) includes climate vulnerable groups, each in their research on nature-based solutions in relation to climate change (Terese and Stephen) and sustainable agriculture (Lovisa). The red thread of their topics is this: Nature-based solutions are generally seen as ‘good ideas’ for solving problems in the world, but we need to explore the complexity of applying them in our current structures of society. What are the complexities about nature-based solutions from your research point of view? 

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Registration to the September 2 seminar on Scales is here:

Registration to the October 1 seminar on Knowledge co-creation will be available here in mid August 2020.

About the joint PhD seminar series

The seminar series is conducted by and for PhD students. It is a joint initiative by ClimBEco, CEC, LUCSUS, IIIEE and the Agenda 2030 graduate school.

PhD candidates from other institutions, faculties and departments, as well as advanced master-level student, are welcome to attend as space allows.

Registration is required.

Links to organizing partners' websites:  

Contact person:
Cheryl Sjöström, Project manager of ClimBEco
cheryl [dot] sjostrom [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC

Sölvegatan 37
223 62 Lund, Sweden

Visiting address
The Ecology Building, Sölvegatan 37, Lund

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