LUCSUS Annual report: Highlights from 2019

LUCSUS staff members at an outing in Malmö 2019. Photo: Cecilia von Arnold.

In our Annual Report for 2019 we share highlights in research, education and impact from the previous year. Read about some of the highlights here and download or read the full report online.

Word from Director Emily Boyd

2019 was an unusually busy year for LUCSUS. In January we transitioned into the Faculty of Social Sciences after a two-year transition process. This shift poses new and interesting challenges and opportunities for our Centre. As sustainability issues grow in importance, LUCSUS’ research and teaching fit well with the Faculty and LUCSUS looks forward to building on existing collaborations and developing new connections. 

Research quality evaluation

LUCSUS also conducted the RQ20, a new major research quality evaluation at Lund University, based on self-evaluations. These evaluations are conducted at many major higher education institutions worldwide and can influence funding development potential and research environments. LUCSUS staff were involved in self-evaluating research quality, research links to education, impact, environment, management strategies and structures. The outcomes of the evaluation will be completed in 2020.

Mentorship programme

LUCSUS launched a new mentorship programme for early career researchers and teachers. The purpose of the programme was to offer leadership development to selected researchers in the strategic research area of Sustainable Development, and to boost career development within academia. LUCSUS also saw a number of new mobility grants successfully awarded to our early career researchers and four new PhD candidates started at LUCSUS with linkages to key funded projects.

New research theme on Biodiversity

With the release of the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) global assessment on nature, LUCSUS relaunched its biodiversity work with a new research theme. It has a new and energised perspective on reconciling the critical need to protect the world’s remaining biodiversity and our current development patterns. LUCSUS was part of a new EU H2020 grant on marine biodiversity and climate change, which will contribute to strengthening LUCSUS’ biodiversity focus.

Travel policy

In 2019, we implemented our first ’commitment’ year where all employees sought to reduce emissions in line with self-defined ambitions. We will be evaluating the results of this in the coming months. The travel policy was picked up widely by other departments and universities, as well as media.

Download LUCSUS Annual Report 2019 (PDF 14.44 MB)


LUCSUS sustainability research strives to engage with many of today’s most pressing global challenges – climate change, food insecurity, migration, loss of biodiversity, and energy transitions. 2019 was marked by mass citizen mobilization on climate change around the world and advances on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read about research activities and news from the past year within our five research themes:



Illustration of biodiversity theme. Illustration: Catrin Jakobsson.

LUCSUS carries out sustainability research that have direct links with biodiversity and human well-being. At the heart of this research are ideas and understandings on changing nature society interactions, local ecological knowledge and political ecology of conservation and development

Agroforestry as a Biodiversity Conservation Tool?
Clear goals but murky path to ecosystem sustainability
Mine Islar comments on IPBES global assessment
Building capacity on ecosystem and biodiversity

Climate Change and Resilience


Illustration of climate demonstrations for LUCSUS climate theme. Illustration: Catrin Jakobsson.

LUCSUS’ research on climate change focuses on addressing the societal dimensions of climate change, such as food security, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and transformation of energy and urban and rural land use systems. We address these dimensions from the perspectives of poverty, inequality, gender, governance and emerging technologies, communication, consumption patterns, economy, justice and responsibility.

Farmers’ experiences of the extreme summer drought 2018
Recasting the Disproportionate Impacts of Climate Change Extremes, DICE
Science has much to offer social movements in the face of planetary emergencies

Land Use, Governance & Development


Illustration of biodiversity theme. Illustration: Catrin Jakobsson.

Our research integrates concerns about land and land degradation into value and supply chains related to food and renewable energy. Politics of land is often a key aspect in our research approach, and this entails issues of justice and fairness of three intersecting dimensions: international, intergenerational, and intersectional.

The Future of Agriculture
What’s love got to do with it? Place, gender and agriculture in Zimbabwe

Urban Governance and Transformations


Illustration of an urban city for LUCSUS urban theme. Illustration: Catrin Jakobsson.

LUCSUS research offers insights into both the nature and dynamics of structural issues  and underlying root causes related to urbanisation, as well as constructive actions to move towards more sustainable and equitable urban futures. Many of the projects we work on involve close cooperation with stakeholders such as citizen groups and city administrations, and both critical and applied research approaches are applied.

Disaster risk reduction and resilience in Sweden
Barriers to nature-based solutions and climate action
High impact research for urban transformations

Energy Justice and Sustainability of Energy Systems


Illustration of people on a solar field for LUCSUS energy theme. Illustration: Catrin Jakobsson.

LUCSUS studies social and environmental impacts of different socio-technical arrangements for energy production, distribution, and consumption. We take a systemic approach to the energy system and investigate both fossil fuel and renewable technologies, and our research explores the distribution of power, risks and benefits associated with technologies, transformations and their impacts.

What can the world can learn from a small town on Iceland?
Promoting sustainability in the Swedish craft beer sector
Biomass-based energy on the move – The geographical expansion of the European Union’s liquid biofuel regulation

PhD Studies in Sustainability Science

In 2019, we welcomed four new PhD students to LUCSUS PhD research programme. They carry out research related to LUCSUS projects with focus on subjects such as loss and damage from climate change extremes, negative emission technologies, flying and life style changes, and the food-water-energy nexus.

Meet our new PhD candidates


Four people pictured in a row, from left to right: Darin Wahl, Sara Ullström, Kelly Dorkenoo, Natalia Rubiano. Photo.
Our new PhD candidates: From the left: Darin Wahl, Kelly Dorkenoo, Sara Ullström, Natalia Rubiano

Darin WahlSara UllströmKelly DorkenooNatalia Rubiano

Educating agents for sustainability


Students from LUCSUS master programme standing on a rock by the sea. Photo.

In 2019, we developed the new course Climate Change and Society. It focuses on social and biophysical dynamics of drivers and impacts of climate change, and the different solutions that are being proposed. During the year, we continued the development of our international masters programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science (LUMES) and broadened our educational portfolio with new commissioned education programmes and courses.

Impact that creates change

Creating societal and environmental impacts beyond academia is in the very core of our work. At LUCSUS we work with policy, capacity building, and societal dialogue as pathways to make an impact for sustainable transformation - from the local to the global level. We work collaboratively with external stakeholders and organisations to engage with different kinds of impact, such as environmental impact, understanding and awareness, attitudes and behaviour change, capacity, policy and decision-making, health and economy.

Here are some of our research impact, media highlights and events from the year.

Research impact

Impact stories