Our society is facing great challenges within a number of different fields. Meeting these societal challenges with knowledge in creative environments that integrate education, research, and collaboration – knowledge environments – is something that permeates Linnaeus University’s vision and work.
Seven of the university’s knowledge environments have been appointed Linnaeus Knowledge Environment. These focus on the fields of education, materials, democracy, water, digitalisation, environment, and health. They all work interdisciplinary and link together subjects, departments, and faculties in order to get a broad take on the societal challenges within each field.
Societal challenge: green sustainable development
Sustainability is usually defined on the basis of the three components ecological, social and economic sustainability which, when they interact and support each other, are expected to lead to sustainable development. A green economy is an economic system that results in improved human living conditions (social sustainability), while environmental risks and the ecological burdens are reduced (ecological sustainability). The green economy has low greenhouse gas emissions, uses resources efficiently and is socially inclusive.
Sustainable and renewable
How we in Sweden manage and utilize our renewable natural resources is, and will remain, absolutely crucial for the future. The UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development addresses 17 global goals for a sustainable development. Here, too, the importance of sustainable management and the efficient use of natural resources is emphasized.
Sweden also has a vision to be a bio-based economy by 2050. This means that materials, energy and chemicals will be bio-based to a much greater extent than today. There are great opportunities here to replace materials that are not renewable, or in other respects not sustainable for the environment, with, for example, forest raw materials. The urgent government goal that Sweden by 2045 will have no net emissions of greenhouse gases has been specifically addressed. In order to combat climate change, it is important to develop and disseminate environmental innovations, and that people's consumption patterns and behaviours change to a large extent.
The forest is an important part
The forest is a very important part of the renewable natural resources and has important contributions to a bioeconomy. Biofuels are Sweden's largest energy source – of all the energy we use, a third, 32 %, originates from biofuels. A very large part of the bioenergy that we use in Sweden comes from forests and the forest industry, about 85 %. Research and development is necessary on efficient and sustainable development, management and improvement of the forest and other resources.
The forest is also, from a bio-economic perspective, Sweden's most important asset. The forest industry accounts for 10 % of Sweden's total exportation of goods (Skogsindustrierna, 2018). Sustainable and efficient utilization of the forest resources presupposes knowledge of ecology, biology, silviculture and health, in order to manage and develop the forest as an efficient producer of large amounts of biomass with the right quality and properties for different areas of use. Sustainable forestry presupposes that the forest delivers other important ecosystem services as well, such as biodiversity, natural and cultural values and water quality. The forest is also important for reducing mental and physical ill health and promotes human health by offering good recreational opportunities.
Wood – a renewable building material
Wood and wood-based materials are used in many different products and are the common denominator for basically all renewable building materials. In order to replace non-renewable materials such as plastics, metals and concrete in buildings and other products as far as possible, research and development is required on material properties, products and systems based on wood and wood fiber.
Several sustainable solutions already exist today and are being introduced at an ever faster pace to meet the challenges of sustainable development. But not all solutions are equally effective. Life cycle and system perspectives are needed to identify the most effective solutions in both the short and long term.
In addition to the traditional uses for forest raw materials, there are other products today, such as textile fibers for viscose fabrics, biocomposite materials, biofuels, chemicals and biodiesel, and other bioresources from soil, forestry and aquaculture. By-products from the pulp industry may also contribute to world food production. Climate change will also have a direct impact from society, where adaptations are necessary to take advantage of new conditions and minimize potential risks.
The knowledge environment Green Sustainable Development spans all five faculties at Linnaeus University, and the research conducted in the environment therefore meets the societal challenge from many aspects. Some of the research areas within Green Sustainable Development are the following:
- The forest, from plant to finished technical wood products
- To build using wood
- Systems with an energy and circulation basis
- Environmental science
- The forest's health-promoting values and stress-related ill health
- How different factors affect "green" behaviours
- Communication and mediation of environmental issues
- How companies and organisations manage and measure their performance from an environmental and sustainable point of view
- How different transport and logistics solutions affect the environment and the use of resources
- How owners and actors both control and are guided by the environmental dimension
Bioresource Technology Bioresource Technology is the umbrella term for the university's research in the fields of bioenergy, biotechnology, combustion engineering, chemical engineering and process…
Computational Social Sciences The research in the area Computational Social Sciences within Linnaeus University Centre for Data Intensive Sciences and Applications (DISA) is about producing and…
Forestry and Wood In the Forestry and Wood field of research we are engaged in the entire chain, from forest to finished product, and with the development of new wood products for construction and…
Forestry, Wood and Building Technologies Within the research area Forestry, Wood and Building Technologies, the objective of Linnaeus University Centre for Data Intensive Sciences and Applications…
Group of Forest Products (GoFP) The goal of the Group of Forest Products is to provide new knowledge and solutions that will lead to a more sustainable utilisation of raw materials from forests. We do…
Sustainable Built Environment Research Within sustainable built environment, we conduct cutting-edge research linked to sustainable development, especially system analysis studies of bioenergy,…
A list of all research projects carried out within the frame of the knowledge environment Green Sustainable Development would be extensive. Please find the projects by clicking on the desired research group in the list under the heading Research environments above.
In order for new knowledge to gain a foothold in society, educational initiatives have a fundamental role to play. Compared to many older and established universities, Linnaeus University carries out a lot of teaching in relation to its research. Therefore, it is essential for the quality of education that research has a very close connection to teaching.
Establishment of new educations and renewal of existing ones within the knowledge environment will be a core for the knowledge formation. Green Sustainable Development sees great opportunities to collaborate across faculty boundaries and create new master programmes in the field, but also to collaborate with other universities in Europe via, for example, EUniWell.
Programmes and courses
First-cycle level (bachelor, bachelor of science in engineering)
Four programmes are given within the field of green sustainable development; two in English and two in Swedish.
- Design+Change (180 credits; main field of study: design)
- Visual Communication+Change (180 credits; design)
- Skog och träteknik, högskoleingenjör (180 credits; forestry and wood technology)
- Skogskandidatprogrammet (180 credits; forestry and wood technology)
Second-cycle level (master)
- Design+Change, Master Programme (120 credits; design)
- Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design – specialisation Engineering, Master Programme (120 credits; forestry and wood technology)
- Sustainable Structural Engineering, Master Programme (120 credits; building technology)
- Skogsbruk med många mål, masterprogram, (120 credits; forestry and wood technology)
We also offer a large number of courses in English in the knowledge environment’s main fields of study. Carry out a search for courses in these subjects.
Within Green Sustainable Development, there are great opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration across faculty boundaries, as we bring together topics such as social sciences, economics, environmental sciences, health, food science, technology, design and communication.
Green Sustainable Development has several direct connections to other Linnaeus Knowledge Environments such as Water, Digital Transformations, Sustainable Health and Advanced Materials. These knowledge environments will interact and have great potential to reinforce each other.
Together with Linnaeus University, Södra and IKEA will create a unique platform, the Bridge, for value development through exchange of experience and resource mobilization between industry and academia. This involves a strong build-up of competence at Linnaeus University, within both education and research. The venture coincides to a very large extent with the education and research in Green Sustainable Development. This means great opportunities for further developments in the future, through joint research applications and new educational programs that span the faculty boundaries.
The research and education within Green Sustainable Development has many connections to partners in indutry. Most research groups in the knowledge environment have great success in attracting external research funding.
Johan Bergh is contact person and chair of Green Sustainable Development.