Sustainable development the focus of new graduate school at Campus Gotland

21 January 2021

Doctoral students

Doctoral students from around the world will be working at the new graduate school at Campus Gotland with sustainable development as part of five unique multidisciplinary projects

On 18 January, Uppsala University’s new multidisciplinary graduate school opened at Campus Gotland. Its focus is on sustainable development. This involves research on key societal challenges within changing energy systems, sustainable consumption, digital development and climate changes based on different scientific contexts.

The starting point for the graduate school is multidisciplinary approach to important societal challenges within sustainable development. Around 20 supervisors from eight departments are participating in the graduate school: Earth Sciences; Anthropology and Ethnology; Civil and Industrial Engineering; Archaeology and Ancient History; Informatics and Media; Business Studies; Law; and Art History.

Supports the profile area sustainability

The graduate school at Campus Gotland is an important hub in the University’s ambition to achieve a sustainable society. Here, the graduate school will be firmly anchored in ongoing multidisciplinary collaborations within research and education. The goal is for the graduate school to conduct research at the highest international level based on questions relevant for local needs. Regional relevance will be combined with international excellence.

“This multidisciplinary graduate school is the biggest and single most important initiative that the University is currently working with to develop research at Campus Gotland. Through the graduate school, we are supporting research on the University’s profile area of sustainability,” says Olle Jansson, adviser to the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of Uppsala University Campus Gotland.

Significant international interest

There has been considerable interest in the graduate school, even internationally. When the doctoral positions were advertised this summer, there were close to 3000 applicants for the 12 positions. These have now been filled with students from the United States, India, Bangladesh and different countries in Europe, including Sweden.

Jenny Helin
Jenny Helin, senior lecturer at the Department of
Business Studies and director of the new graduate

“There are certainly several reasons for the enormous interest,” explains Jenny Helin, senior lecturer at the Department of Business Studies and director of the new graduate school. “In part, many people want to make a difference by studying and researching sustainability and they are attracted to the multidisciplinary approach. But it also has to do with Sweden having a good reputation in sustainability. Internationally, Sweden is at the forefront, and this makes it interesting to apply for doctoral positions here. Uppsala University is also a strong brand, that’s also important.”

Five unique multidisciplinary projects

Twelve doctoral students will be working together with their supervisors, international partners, guest researchers and local stakeholders within five unique multidisciplinary projects.

The five projects are:

  • Sustainable destination development. (Three doctoral students)
  • Gotland’s sustainable energy system transition: resources, demand and planning. (Three doctoral students)
  • Fisheries and coastal development in a small island context – the past, present and future. (Two doctoral students)
  • Getting the balance right - Applying legislation when seeking a balance between energy transition and the conservation of cultural values. (Two doctoral students)
  • Digital innovation for sustainable consumption. (Two doctoral students)

Starting out online

Lovely new facilities with a view over Visby harbour have been prepared for the graduate school’s doctoral students to ensure a creative and stimulating environment. The original idea was that all 12 doctoral students would be on site from the start, but the pandemic has forced a change so that everything will begin online.

“It is not just different disciplines coming together within the graduate school, but also different doctoral education traditions and different administrative processes from the supervisor group’s home departments. So, there will be challenges, particularly now when we have to begin completely online. But I am convinced that we will make it work with the eager and enthusiastic doctoral students now beginning at the graduate school. Hopefully, we will soon be able to meet here on Campus Gotland in our newly renovated facilities that are waiting for us and build a strong doctoral environment together,” says Jenny Helin.