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Published: 2020-11-11

Changing one’s behaviour is the key to sustainable transition

PROFILE Annika Nordlund is docent of psychology and works at the Department of Psychology at Umeå University. She is also a part of the UTRI Steering Committee, UTRI stands for Umeå Transformation Research Initiative, which will soon hold an online kick-off. And we are interested in hearing why Annika Nordlund has chosen to be active in UTRI.

Text: Kristina Lindblom
Image: Mattias Pettersson

I believe that a sustainable transition requires interdisciplinary research and understanding, and I believe UTRI can be an efficient platform for that.

Who are you and what is your research passion?

- I was born in Stockholm but raised in Umeå. I was studying to become an after-school teacher when I discovered how exciting psychology was. Hence, I chose to move on to studying psychology and completed my PhD in 2002 with a doctoral thesis on values, norms, attitudes and habits related to environmental behaviour.

- My research focus lies in the fields of environment and social psychology and deals with how and what psychological factors affect various types of environmentally related behaviour. And also on how various measures to change behaviour are perceived and have effect.

Annika Nordlund is also active at the Transportation Research Unit (TRUM) at Umeå University. At TRUM, researchers are studying transportation (https://www.umu.se/en/transportation-research-unit/) and travelling primarily focusing on smaller units such as individuals, households and companies.

What is sustainable transition according to you and what challenges can you see in getting there?

- Changing one’s behaviour is the key to sustainable transition. Basically, it revolves around the effect of values, attitudes, environmental awareness and norms on the desire to achieve an environmental behaviour, on the desire to support the introduction of structural solutions, and on alternative motives to choosing to act in an environmentally friendly way.

- When looking at the choice of transportation, it is often a decision based upon routines, and can hence be difficult to change. That emphasises the importance of understanding how habits to use certain means of transportation can be changed by increased awareness in decision-making situations and how the effect of increased awareness can affect the relation between attitudes, habits and behaviour.

What do you think UTRI can contribute with in your research?

- Opportunities for interdisciplinary discussions, exchange of knowledge and collaboration.

And finally, why do you think people should take part in the kick-off?

- I think people should participate in the kick-off to discover the UTRI network and explore the wide-spanning research that is conducted in this field.

Umeå Transformation Research Initiative (UTRI)

Umeå University is investing in sustainability research. The new Umeå Transformation Research Initiative (UTRI) supports collaborations promoting sustainable transition at Umeå University, but also welcomes collaborations with other universities and stakeholders in the field.

UTRI held a kick-off on Monday 30 November and Tuesday 1 December 2020 in the form of an online webinar. Keynote speeches from honorary doctors at Umeå University was: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, Nancy Langton, Professor at Michigan Technological University, the US, John Anderson, Professor at Loughborough University, the UK, and Michael Hall, Professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zeeland.

The moderator was Ola Nordebo.

Read more on the UTRI website.


Annika Nordlund
Associate professor