05/09/2023NewsEarth Commission News

The Earth Commission welcomes Albert Norström as Science Director

Dr. Albert Norström has been appointed as the Science Director for the Earth Commission. He will play a leading role in developing the next phase of the Commission’s integrated work.

Norström is an Associate Professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), Stockholm University and a familiar face in the Future Earth network. He served as Executive Director of Future Earth’s Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) between 2011-2018. Prior to that role he held positions such as the Deputy Director of the Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development (GRAID) which aimed to bridge the worlds of resilience thinking and development practice. He most recently worked as the Head of Knowledge of the Global Resilience Partnership – a coalition of 60+ organisations supporting people and places to thrive in the face of uncertainty.  

Norström’s research focus is the social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services, resilience assessments in vulnerable and fragile contexts, sustainability transformations, ocean risk and resilience, and knowledge co-production in sustainability research. His PhD focused on thresholds and regime shifts in coral reef ecosystems. Some of the many attributes he brings to the Commission. 

Joining at an important moment for the Earth Commission

Norström joins the Earth Commission at a critical juncture, following the first round of novel results being published. The Earth Commission has now scientifically defined and quantified a safe and just Earth system boundaries for people and the planet. The boundaries apply at local and global scales to avoid crossing irreversible tipping points and avoiding significant harm to humans. The Commission’s work also includes defining just levels of access to resources for a dignified life and freedom from poverty for everyone. 

Norström will, in collaboration with the Commission Co-Chairs, lead the academic synthesis work of the Earth Commission in its second phase. This includes refining the Earth system boundaries, as well as defining new ones for oceans and novel entities (such as micro plastics and chemical pollution). 

Wendy Broadgate, Executive Director of the Earth Commission and Global Hub Director, Sweden, Future Earth says “ We are thrilled to welcome Albert to the team. His valuable experience in convening and leading multidisciplinary teams will be an asset to the Earth Commission.”

The Commission will continue its work to review methods for translating the boundaries for actors such as cities and companies, and deepen its work on transformation pathways to a safe and just future. 

Norström said “The Commission is a timely example of driving impact through science for real world application, towards a more sustainable future. I am excited to take on the role and to help guide the Commission in its next phase”.

As of 1 September 2023, Norström is based at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Future Earth Global Hub in Stockholm.