Mistra Geopolitics research school’s influence on PhD students and their careers
Newly graduated scholars highlighted how workshops, events and seminars played an influential role in their PhD journey. Taking part of discussions with professors and other PhD students strengthened their confidence, research and presentation skills. Two of them mentioned a communication workshop hosted by Eva Kruitmeijer:
“We worked on exercises to better understand what the impact of our research could be, not just within academia, but also outside, when communicating it to policymakers”
— Lauri Peterson, Researcher at University of Eastern Finland and Uppsala University.
Another enriching part of the school was receiving support and continuous feedback on the research process and methods, as well as networking opportunities. As part of their research, they interviewed different actors, read reports and analysed data. For one, what started with interviewing United Nations officials and creating data sets, led to her starting a company:
“During my PhD, I felt we needed more innovative ways of working so that we could brainstorm and analyse interesting ideas in a much easier way. Then, I went to the Stockholm University’s Innovation Office with an idea of a new digital tool.”
Climate action under the spotlight
Climate change is complex and has indirect effects on health or migration, which is difficult to illustrate for politicians and to the public. Communicating and handling research findings needs to improve. Kural suggests using visuals couldshow the effects of climate change adaptation and other complex topics in a simpler way, reaching out to more people.
Indirectly, climate change adaptation is also linked to democratic questions because it implies balancing different societal goals. Peterson highlighted that, as climate policies become more ambitious over time, its effects on public debate couldlead to either a more diverse debate or to polarization. The challenge then might be to compensate those groups whocould be the losers of these policies and the changes they bring. Thus, states shall identify how climate adaptation action affects specific groups in society and manage these effects to protect vulnerable groups.
Ahead of COP28, Maria Jernnäs advocates for making more explicit how policies targeting climate action and adaptation interact with other goals, such as the SDGs. Reflecting on decision making and priority setting processes can help addressing democratic questions that arise.
“We can’t just presume that acting on climate change will also reduce inequalities, that it will be a win – win.What’s important is how decisions are made. What knowledge is there? Who’s involved in that decision and can take part in the conversation?”
– Maria Jernnäs, Post-doctoral Researcher at Linköping University
Jernnäs suggests countries shall consider including the perspectives of specific disadvantaged groups in society, sharing details of why and how they are involved in processes shaping climate action. For instance, in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement.
Ece was a doctoral student in International Relations at Stockholm University. She holds a masters’ degree in Political Science from Uppsala University and bachelors’ degrees in International Relations and Psychology from Koc University, Istanbul. Ece was focused on the Work Package 3 of the Mistra Geopolitics programme with a specific interest in the legitimacy and effectiveness of the global governance responses to climate-security risks. Ece worked closely with her supervisors Dr Lisa Maria Dellmuth and Dr Maria-Therese Gustafsson. Ece was active in Phase I of Mistra Geopolitics.
Lauri Peterson is a PhD student at the Department of Government of Uppsala University. He is a political scientist working on issues related to climate policy, comparative politics and climate financing. He has a Master’s degree from the Central European University in International Relations and European Studies, where in 2015 he received a DBU scholarship to pursue a guest researcher position at Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment. Lauri’s PhD focuses on the comparative politics of international climate financing. Lauri was active in Phase I of Mistra Geopolitics.
Maria holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, both from Linköping University, Sweden. She took her master’s degree in International and European Relations and her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Her research concerns the conditions for international collaboration on climate change after the 2015 Paris Agreement and focuses especially on the roles that the state has, or can have, in global climate governance, and what could shape the state’s role. In the Mistra Geopolitics programme, her work was related to Work Package 4, The Interrelationships between Shifting Geopolitical Landscapes and the SDGs. Maria was active in Phase I of Mistra Geopolitics.
This text was written by Ana Calvo, Communications Associate at SEI.