16 Nov: PhD-course Sustainability in a globalized world – tools and concepts

Last changed: 19 February 2022
All sustainable development goals, icons.

Do you want your research to contribute to making the world a better place? Would you like to interact with doctoral students from all over the world? If you are still reading, you should probably sign up for the PhD-course “Sustainability in a globalized world – tools and concepts”.

By the year 2050 the world´s population will exceed nine billion people. We need to solve the equation of meeting a growing demand for food while reducing its environmental impacts – and it all needs to be done under a changing climate. Research and innovation, translated into relevant action on a global scale is essential to meet these global challenges.

In this PhD-course you will learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhance your ability to integrate the SDGs into your research and teaching. The course will also cover aspects on how scientific knowledge can be translated into action by using the concept of Theory of Change, and how to measure impact of your research. You will strengthen your intercultural competence and explore the meaning and impact of culture in different contexts, all while also broadening your network.

The course is organised by SLU as part of the Global Challenges University Alliance (GCUA 2030), which is a network of university partners from across the globe with a common vision of contributing to sustainable, global development.

The course content will be divided into four modules:

Module 1: Introduction to sustainability including the SDG impact assessment tool
This module will give an introduction to sustainable development and the SDGs. By using his/hers own research project in the process of self-evaluation, PhD students will identify the project’s opportunities, risks and knowledge gaps and subsequently have a better understanding how the project relates to the SDGs.

Module 2: Intercultural competence (Natalie Jellinek, SLU)
Working towards the implementation and achievement of the SDGs will require increased collaboration across borders, universities, and disciplines. This module will explore the meaning of culture in different contexts and its potential impact on international collaboration and teamwork, while also considering teaching and learning implications. PhD students will reflect on how to work across cultures and effectively communicate with those who might be different from them.

Module 3: Education for sustainable development (ESD) (Peter Aspengren, SLU)
ESD is about what to teach, how to teach and how to interact with students. In this module, the PhD students will work with sustainability issues considering the environmental, social and economic perspectives in their research and teaching, linking theoretical facts with real-life issues. The module will also explore different definitions of sustainability and ESD in order to be able to understand how the seemingly objective world of research interacts with a world full of attitudes, values and agendas.

Module 4: The Theory of Change approach (Isabel Vogel, UK)
Translating research into action is important for achieving the SDGs. This module will cover aspects on how scientific knowledge can be translated into action by using the concept of Theory of Change (ToC), and how to measure research impact. PhD students will apply the ToC framework on their own research projects to learn how to design, plan, manage and revise research projects for increased impact and relevance.


The course will be given during 8 weeks in total with 25% study pace. This course is equivalent to 10 days of full-time studies and is divided into four modules.


Admitted to a PhD program and participants of residency programmes at SLU. The course will also be open to PhD students or postdocs from other universities in the Global Challenges University Alliance (GCUA 2030).

The course is funded by STINT, the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. 


Occasion: Sustainability in a globalized world, November 2020

Location: Online

Course leader: Isabel Vogel (UK), Natalie Jellinek (SLU), Peter Aspengren (SLU), Marnie Hancke (SLU)

Course date: November 16, 2020 - January 22, 2021 (8 weeks in total with 25 % study pace)

Last application day: 2020-11-02

Related pages:


GCUA 2030 coordinator

Elisabeth Rajala
Telephone: +46 18 672036, +46 73 801 33 56