News & media

Zennström climate professorship to Doreen Stabinsky

Press release
2015-01-26

Climate researcher Doreen Stabinsky will be Uppsala University’s first holder of the Zennström Visiting Professorship in Climate Change Leadership. She is to take up the position on February 1st and contribute to the establishment of an environment that will be unique, both in Sweden and internationally.

Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson says: ‘This area of knowledge is extremely important. The challenges of climate change call for knowledge and courage on the part of world leaders. It’s highly gratifying that Doreen Stabinsky wants to join in developing an environment in this area at Uppsala University — something made possible by Zennström Philanthropies.’

Doreen Stabinsky is Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. Her research, teaching, and writing concern the impacts of climate change, particularly on agriculture and global food security. She also serves as advisor to various governments and international environmental organisations, and has a large international network of collaborators. She stresses the central role that education must play in addressing the growing challenges of climate change.

‘Working with talented and committed students and colleagues is inspiring and motivating - it gives me hope for the future,” Stabinsky says. “Today’s youth are not just future climate leaders; they are already leading the way, advocating for and implementing changes needed to address climate change. I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with new colleagues in Uppsala to bring more students into the political processes around climate and to enable them to become the leaders that the world needs. ’

The ten-year visiting professorship, which involves a new professor being invited every year or two, is placed at Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD) and will thus help to strengthen the focus on the area of climate change leadership there. Plans are already being made, in consultation with Doreen Stabinsky, for a range of activities in 2015, including seminars, conferences and international meetings. She will also take part as one of the University’s representatives at the next key international climate summit, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

CSD, which is part of the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University, is a transdisciplinary centre, acting as a catalyst for research, education and collaboration in the area of sustainability. There is great enthusiasm about Doreen Stabinsky’s arrival in February. She is known for her commitment to education and her ability to strengthen young people’s capacity to contribute to a better world. The fact that the focus of the climate change professorship has emerged from a student initiative and is now to be developed further, particularly in research, is also unique.

CSD Director Neil Powell says: ‘Actions to address climate change can be considered fraught with emergent conflicts of interest between the development agenda of many stakeholders and the environmental targets defined by climate science. This new research environment will support the development of innovative approaches and methods to reconcile these dilemmas by emphasising aspects that seldom come to fore in the climate debate. Collaboration and relationships, innovations and leadership are crucial for resolving climate issues, and our intention is to create a transdisciplinary platform that supports co-production of knowledge between researchers, stakeholders and change agents. ’

SLU (the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) will be an important collaborator in establishing the environment. Vice chancellor Lisa Sennerby Forsse says:

‘Climate change will affect our ecosystems and thereby impact agriculture and forestry. For SLU one of the key areas is about identifying the main risks and looking for solutions for adaptation and mitigation in agriculture and forestry. We welcome Doreen Stabinsky to contribute to further strengthen our cooperation with Uppsala University within the frames of CSD’.

The professorship is being funded with an earlier donation by the entrepreneur Niklas Zennström to Uppsala University. Zennström, who co-founded Skype, Kazaa, Joos and other companies, is currently running his own investment firm, Atomico, which invests in innovative technology companies. With his strong social commitment, through his organisation Zennström Philanthropies, he is contributing to various causes, including climate change research and other development in the area of climate change.

‘Clean technology will continue to attract more entrepreneurs and investors. However, the climate-related challenges we face around the globe require more: they require strong and visionary leadership. Zennström Philanthropies believes that Uppsala University can contribute to the development of such leadership in the climate change area, leadership that will complement innovation and business ventures in clean tech,’ says Niklas Zennström.

Niklas Zennström has two degrees from Uppsala University, a BSc in Business Administration and a dual MSc in Engineering Physics and Computer Science.

To find out more about CSD (the Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development at Uppsala University and SLU), click here.

Contacts:
Neil Powell, CSD Uppsala Director, tel. 070-167 91 69, neil.powell@csduppsala.uu.se
Isak Stoddard, Acting Programme Director/Coordinator for the area of Climate Change Leadership, tel. 070-314 72 36, isak.stoddard@csduppsala.uu.se.