Natural Resources and Sustainable Development

Research in natural resources and sustainable development comprises the origin, exploration and usage of raw materials by society and the development of humanity, its sustainable resource supply, and its impact on the global ecosystems

The Programme has two overarching research themes: Environment, Nature and Society and Global Energy Systems

Our Research

Natural Resources and Sustainable Development Programme research focuses on the different dimensions of sustainable development. We consider the environment and its natural resources and ecosystem services as an overarching foundation for society and economy and aim to provide knowledge on how to identify, explore for, extract, and utilize natural resources in a safe and sustainable fashion. Our work involves considerations of both natural and social systems and their interactions, often adopting transdisciplinary approaches

Research themes:

Environment, Nature and Society research theme focuses on understanding interactions between the living components of nature and society that are of relevance to management and policy for a more sustainable future. Some focal areas in our work include fisheries, ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation often in aquatic and coastal contexts, food systems, preservation of agricultural land, as well as remediation of contaminated sediments.

Global Energy Systems. This theme revolves around analysing how energy resources and raw materials are originating, are extracted, transformed, and used within global industrial supply chains that underpin modern society. Geological research is intertwined with technical, economic, natural hazards and social research to describe, understand and model how systems change over time, are vulnerable to outside phenomena and processes, and how they interact with economy, the environment, and society. The focal areas are understanding sustainability of resource supply, create long-term resource security, determine how to minimize risks for material supply interruptions, and develop strategies on how to best manage resources in society.

Educational Programmes

A park with trees. Photo.

Master Programme in Sustainable Development - An interdisciplinary programme covering a wide range of issues that concern sustainable development from a variety of perspectives – from basic understanding of the the concept of Sustainable Development and its links to existing policies, to principles in economic, energy  and raw materials aspects, to very concrete aspects, such as how sufficient drinking water can be made available to everyone on our planet.

Master Programme in Sustainable Destination Development - An interdisciplinary programme given by the Department of Engineering Sciences. The programme focuses on issues relating to sustainable development of tourist destinations from many different perspectives for use in your future occupation, encompassing supervision, community planning, education, research, communication, management of natural resources or decision-making.

Bachelor's Programme in Energy Transition - Sustainability and Leadership - The interdisciplinary character of the programme trains you to understand and integrate knowledge from different disciplines in order to handle the complex topics of energy, energy transition processes and sustainability. Here you will practice critical analysis and evaluation of different approaches from different perspectives where active student participation plays an important role. The programme is taught at Uppsala University's Gotland Campus which offers a well-coordinated education environment and a profile towards sustainability.

Bachelor Programme in Environmental Science - A programme that is building on knowledge from a natural science foundation (biology, ecology and geoscience) focuses on the consequences of human use of nature and natural resources. It also covers ethical, economic, legal and cultural positions as the prerequisites for solving the environmental problems.


Two people handle contaminated samples taken from the Ångermanälven river. Photo.

The research subject of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development aims to deepen the knowledge of the occurrence and origin of natural raw materials and energy resources as well as the development of  best exploration and best extraction practises in respect to these resources´  especially in respect to ecological, technical and socioeconomic terms and conditions, as well as environmental and social consequences of their utilization by society. Trans-disciplinary approaches are encouraged to identify and manage the flow of natural resources to society for long term sustainable development. The research study subject offers specialization in two areas -  Global Energy Systems and Environment, Nature and Society.

Read more about the PhD studies 

Uppsala University initiatives under NRHU

A beach with rocks. Photo.Baltic University Programme
Cooperation between approximately 90 member universities in the Baltic Sea Region.  The main aim is to support and establish strong regional educational and research communities

Blue Centre Gotland
Collaboration project between Uppsala University, the County Administrative Board of Gotland and Region Gotland focusing on the research and development questions regarding water

Climate Change Leadership Research Node
As a catalyst for public debate, research, and education, the goal of the CCL Node is to actively shape an inter- and transdisciplinary intellectual environment that combines education, research, and outreach in innovative ways and applies knowledge into equitable climate action

Last modified: 2021-08-24