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KTH gets a grip of the Arctic

Published Dec 21, 2010

The Division of History of Science and Technology at KTH will receive SEK 7 million from Mistra to conduct research on the future of the Arctic.

Sverker Sörlin
Sverker Sörlin, professor of environmental history at KTH.

There is an ongoing heated debate on the future of the Arctic with its melting polar ice, hopes of natural resources and tourism, but also fears for the future of minority peoples, environmental degradation and increased geopolitical tensions - according Sverker Sörlin, professor of environmental history at KTH.

“Visions of Arctic futures have been presented throughout the 1900s. Their common denominator is that they have not come about. Our research involves developing tools to evaluate different scenarios and plans," says Sverker Sörlin who is also leading the project at KTH.

To be precise, this means that the SEK 7 million - funding that extends over a period of three years - will be used to explore the voices that are heard in the debate about the future of the Arctic.

“Whose values count? Can democratic participation unify the discussion about the future of the Arctic? What can be unified through “good” development in the Arctic? To answer such questions, we would like to apply methods from for example technology assessment, environmental impact assessments and the development of various scenarios. These will then be scaled up and developed so that the discussion on the future of the Arctic is not just a question of power and strength but also a question of values and whose values have the right to be heard," says Sverker Sörlin.

Research on the future of the Arctic forms part of the new research programme Mistra Arctic Futures in a Global Context. Besides KTH, the European University of St. Petersberg (EUSP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute are also participating in the research.

For more information, contact Sverker Sörlin on or 070 - 545 25 26.

Peter Larsson