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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. Photo.

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.

Seminars in the spring 2021:

Thank you to all participants on March 19th! The second seminar for spring term 2021 is currently being prepared. Information will be made available here once it is ready.

Friday March 19th, 13:15-14:15
Measuring impacts of climate change

Climate researchers are not the only ones doing climate-relevant research. Presenting at this seminar are three PhD students from three different faculties. In common is their engagement in research related to climate change impacts on society, with all the caveats and complexity that such a label includes.

We welcome Madeleine Petersson Sjögren from Design Sciences who studies the role of bioaerosols in the atmosphere, a rather poorly understood component in climate change predictions. Following this, we will hear how Michelle Nygren uses tools from Hydrology to study impacts of climate on groundwater storage, and the potential implications this can have on societies. Kelly Dorkenoo will then share her work on disproportionate and unequal impacts on societies when extreme climate events do occur.

How do each of these projects approach issues of uncertainty, scale and feedbacks, and what can be learned from having a conversation over such a wide span of research on climate change impacts?


Madeleine Petersson Sjögren, Dept of Design Sciences and ClimBEco, Lund University
Madeleine's profile at

Michelle Nygren, Dept of Earth Sciences and ClimBEco, University of Gothenburg
Michelle's profile at

Kelly Dorkenoo, Centre for Sustainability Studies, Lund University
Kelly's profile at

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. See the calendar event for registration link.

Links to organizing partners' websites:  

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

Previous seminars


1/10: Interaction and Knowledge co-creation with society

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?

2/9: Matters of Scale

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.

16/4: 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.



5/12: 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. 

17/10: Nature-based solutions to societal problems

The red thread 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?