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Åsa Persson

Research Director and Deputy Director

Åsa Persson

Åsa Persson is Research Director and Deputy Director at SEI.

Prof Persson is a social scientist and expert on climate and sustainable development governance. She is Adjunct Professor at the Department for Thematic Studies, Environmental Change, Linköping University. Since 2023, she is Chair of the Swedish Climate Policy Council.

As Research Director, she heads the Department of Global Research and leads the work of the SEI Global Research Committee, which manages internal research funding, oversees research quality and ethics policies, and facilitates research innovation across SEI’s centres. She is a member of the SEI Executive Team and Global Management Committee.

Her research focuses on the interaction between global and national policy and governance, including the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Previous research includes the global governance of climate change adaptation, climate finance, implementation of international environmental agreements, environmental policy integration and coherence, and development of the planetary boundaries framework.

She is a frequent public speaker and has provided advice and consultancy to many policy organizations, like the UN, OECD, the European Commission and the Swedish government. Her research has been published in journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change, Environmental Science and Policy, and Climate Policy. She has won several competitive research grants from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas), EU, Mistra and the Swedish Research Council.

In 2020, she was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to the Independent Group of Scientists to draft the 2023 UN Global Sustainable Development Report. She is a member of several scientific committees: including the Swedish National Committee on Global Environmental Change (Royal Academy of Sciences), the Lead Faculty of the Earth System Governance network, the research committee of the Royal Swedish Agricultural Academy, and the External Advisory Board of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute. She is editorial board member of the journal Earth System Governance.

Åsa first joined SEI in 2001. She received her PhD degree in environmental policy from the London School of Economics & Political Science in 2007. After completing her PhD degree in 2007, she has had several roles within SEI, as group leader and theme leader. She was a Post-Doc Researcher with the Stockholm Resilience Centre in 2010-2012, and Visiting Fellow at ANU Climate Change Institute, Canberra, in 2010 and at Macquarie University, Sydney, in 2017.

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