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About us

In the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment we conduct research, PhD training, and education in history with an emphasis on our thematic core areas – science, technology, and environment. We have broad expertise across the humanities and social sciences. Our challenge driven work covers historical studies of environment, climate, energy, cultural and natural heritage, media, AI, cities, and research and innovation policy. The Division hosts an internationally leading centre for humanities with a focus on environment and climate, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory. Research topics in the EHL include migration, political ecology, and the role of cities in climate transformation.

Photo from the annual Division kick off. Mariefred 2016


Our work is a contribution to fair sustainable societies in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Science and technology are major forces in environmental and climate change and in shaping conditions for life on Earth. Historical study of science, technology, and environment is therefore key to understanding contemporary societies as well as the processes of change that shape the future. It gives insights that are essential for students in engineering, architecture, computer science, or indeed any field of study. It also brings broad systemic understanding that is important for the ongoing transformation to a carbon free society and for judging and evaluating solutions.

Our vision is in line with the ambitions for humanities articulated in the current KTH Development Plan 2018-2023:

”Humanities and social science aspects are necessary for sustainable technological development. Complementary skills, such as intercultural competence, are necessities for today’s – and tomorrow’s – labour market.”

Esperanza base camp and the remains of the first Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-1903) at Snow Hill island, Antarctica, documented by Swedish-Argentine research expedition CHAQ 2020. Division researchers Kati Lindström and Dag Avango (also at LTU) took part of the expedition. Photo: Kati Lindström


The Division gives compulsory history courses for a selection of engineering programs (e.g. energy, engineering physics, ICT). In addition, we provide a rich offering of courses that cater to students in all KTH programs as well as off campus students. Some courses offer essential general knowledge. History of science and technology presents the complex processes that lie behind today’s high tech world society. Environmental history analyzes how natural resources, environmental politics, biodiversity, and climate change emerged historically and gained their extraordinary current significance.

Other courses have a more distinct thematic focus, such as Political ecology, Media between technology and culture, or Energy and geopolitics. One is about Technology and gender, another examines Science, technology and environment in film. New courses in 2022 and 2023 cover Transformation to fossil free society and Urban history. In addition, we offer a basic course about Swedish society (history, culture, social affairs) for international students, and courses in Life long learning and continued education for professionals. Every year we welcome a number of advanced level students from across KTH to do their Master’s thesis in our Division.


Research is our largest activity and most of it is conducted in research teams running multi-year projects granted funding in competition. Many projects are EU-funded, including three large five year projects with grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Among our domestic funders are the Swedish Research Council (VR), Riksbankens jubileumsfond (RJ), Vinnova, the Wallenberg Foundations, the environmental research foundation Mistra, Formas – a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development, and several others. In toto the Division and the EHL are host to more than forty research projects.

Evidence of the quality of our research is both the volume of our competitive research income and several evaluations over the years, for example by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. In the most recent KTH wide international Research Assessment Exercise, the Division ranked in the highest category, triple AAA.


Our by far most important resource is our co-workers – faculty, researchers, postdocs, PhD students, and admin staff – and their academic networks around the world and links to actors and institutions in Swedish society. At present, the Division has four professors (of which one is a visiting position), three lecturers, and some twenty researchers holding a PhD degree. Fifteen doctoral candidates conduct their PhD program with us.

KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory is a leading international centre for humanities and social science research about environment, climate, migration and fair transition to a carbon free society. 

We have a comprehensive exchange activity, often framed by our large research projects, and most PhD students and postdocs as well as senior faculty spend longer or shorter stints in foreign universities and institutes.

A key asset and a precondition for sustained productivity and progress is our work environment, which promotes dynamic and intense collaboration, tolerance and openness, community and social ambience.

Collaboration with society

We promote and prioritize collaboration and communication with the wider society in which we belong. Members of the Division are active partners in the public discourse on multiple topics through public talks and seminars, news media and op ed articles, and through frequent presence in radio, television and social media. Many publish books that reach out to wide audiences. Communication and collaboration also have a substantial position in our PhD program.

Other forms of collaboration comprise work on boards of public agencies, universities, museums, environmental and other organizations, foundations, and private companies. Several members of the Division are engaged to conduct special commissions, sometimes by the government, to lead public inquiries, or serve on advisory committees in Sweden or abroad.

The Division, the EHL, some of our research projects, and many individual researchers are active on social media and run blogs and podcasts.