Carl Folke
Carl Folke

The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have selected Carl Folke as their 2017 Laureate of the international Gunnerus Sustainability Award.

The award honours outstanding scientific work for sustainable development globally and aims to promote research and strengthen the scientific basis of sustainability. It will be presented on 19 October in Trondheim during an international sustainability conference.

“Folke’s research has opened new perspectives in understanding the dynamic interaction between human beings and nature, the features and services of ecosystems, as well as how socioeconomic conditions help to manage and maintain ecosystems' ability to cope with changes – their so-called resilience,” writes NTNU in a press release.

Opening up new fields

Besides being one of the founders and the science director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Carl Folke is the director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is also one of the founders of the Resilience Alliance, and has played a key role in developing the International Society for Ecological Economics.

“Folke has contributed in significant ways to sustainability as a field of research and is internationally considered to be one of the most important researchers in designing this new area of research,” writes NTNU.

Carl is an elected member of both the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Sciences and he has been an environmental adviser to the Swedish government. He has collaborated with UN organizations in areas such as biodiversity, ecosystem services, water management and sustainable cities.

In their motivation NTNU and DKNVS also mention Carl Folke’s work with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, and the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. They also emphasize that Folke has created interdisciplinary environments for cooperation and approaches that have been adopted not only in science, but also in education, politics and management, and more recently in the business community.

“In particular, he has helped stimulate research to better understand complex socio-ecological systems. He has been a pioneer in the pursuit of fruitful dialogue and cooperation between the social sciences, economics and natural sciences to illustrate the important sustainability challenges facing society.”

Other awards

Among many achievements over the years Carl Folke was already 1995 awarded the Pew Scholar Award in Conservation and the Environment. In 2004, he received the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America.

As winner of the Gunnerus Sustainability Award Carl Folke will receive NOK 1 million (approximately USD 190,000), a gold medal, and a diploma.