Urban Futures Open Research School

Mistra Urban Futures’ Gothenburg platform (GOLIP) has initiated an Open Research School on transdisciplinarity and co-creation in response to current and future urban challenges.

In close interplay between researchers from all disciplines and practices, the Research School aims to address the research agenda of Mistra Urban Futures, that is, Realising Just Cities. The school encompasses the PhD students that are currently tied to the Gothenburg platform and builds on the experiences by previous PhD students connected to the centre as a whole.

In close interplay between researchers from all disciplines and practices, the Research School aims to address the research agenda of Mistra Urban Futures, that is, Realising Just Cities. 

The Research School is open for both PhD students within the field and practitioners working with sustainable urban development within public or private organisations. The school also encompasses the PhD students currently tied to the Gothenburg platform and builds on the experiences from previous PhD students, connected to the centre as a whole.

Open – Academy and society 

The Research School attempts to create a collaborative environment. One set up that the Research School will be encouraging, is research pairs –a constellation of two doctorial students, where one of them also has a current position in society – where each student will formulate a research project in relation to a common theme addressing urgent societal challenges. 

Course on Co-production 

Co-producing knowledge in transdisciplinary research – From practice to theory. Two PhD courses for 2017-18, 2x7.5 ECTS. Read more 


The mission of the Research School is to:

- Produce research of international excellence and to train PhDs with a solid experience and knowledge of transdisciplinary co-creation for just and sustainable cities.  

- To contribute to urban development, by adapting and rendering access to the Research School for professionals through educational activities – an Open Research School. 

- To make the knowledge-creating processes interact with the urban processes, to develop innovative ideas and sustainable practices.  

- To have an international impact on the research field of transdisciplinary sustainable urban development and become leading within the field. 

- To accumulate research networks in realising just cities competencies, in academia as well as in the wider society.

- To integrate and communicate co-produced research projects in the international network of Mistra Urban Futures.  

Programme set-up – courses, workshops and seminars 

The Urban Futures Open Research School will offer courses on transdisciplinary methods and epistemology, scenario methodologies, holistic thinking and visualization, and eventually, thematic courses relating to the research topics of study.

The research school will also provide activities on critical reflection on co-production as well as the role of the PhD student in processes of co-production in relation to scientific methods, quality, relevance and social utility. International seminars will be held connected to the Mistra Urban Futures’ international network and platforms. 

The participants of the school will be invited to take part in Mistra Urban Futures’ annual international conference. Workshops and courses for both academia and society/industry in co-production and reflexive support will also be offered.

Research-Pairs – Set-up for supervisors and PhD students  

For a possible research PhD-pair, a double supervision will be needed, with two professors positioned at a Swedish university. The qualifications to supervise is assessed according to the institutional affiliation. There will also be a co-supervisor from the public sector or civil society, employed by a Swedish public authority or active within Swedish civil society. These co-supervisors will have an advisory and supporting role and will be assessed according to their practical experience.

The supervisor team will together apply for the funding of the two PhD students and the intention is build partnerships where PhD students are funded 50% by the university department and 50% by the Urban Futures Research School via various funding agencies. 

The preconditions and set up for the PhD are: 

•    The PhD students should have a master’s degree 
•    PhD student coming from practice should also have a number of years of working experience (so called Municipal PhD or Industrial PhD)
•    The PhD students have to be accepted at the department of one of the supervisors 
•    Graduation is according to the regulations and research plans of each department 
•    The research plan of each university department should allow for the PhD student to participate in the Urban Futures Research School 
•    Both supervisors and PhD students are expected to attend in joint workshops, seminars and courses arranged by the Research School 

The admission process 

Applications to the Research School will be evaluated by at least three experts with scientific qualifications from different fields. Scientific or relevant qualifications from practice will be evaluated. Previous transdisciplinary research experiences are also qualifying. 

For courses, applications will be done according to announced application dates.


The Research School has the following organisational set up: 

Organisation Urban Futures Open Research School

Management group 

The Management Group is responsible for guiding the development of the Urban Futures Open Research School and for developing activities that are in line with the overarching goals. 

Scientific Co-production Committee 

The Scientific Co-production Committee is responsible for the development of themes of the Urban Futures Open Research School in relation to the surrounding society and the framework of Mistra Urban Futures. 
It also evaluates the scientific quality of the Research School. 

International Advisory Board 

The International Advisory Board consists of the international partners of Mistra Urban Futures. The Board are responsible for assuring the international relevance and impact of the Research School. 

Research School Director 

The Urban Futures Research School Director has the academic responsibility and research leadership towards the PhD students and for the Research School. The Research School Director is appointed by the Gothenburg Platform Director. 

Coordinator for the Research School 

The coordinator is responsible for the management of the Research School on a daily basis.  


Henrietta Palmers, Research School Director and Deputy Scientific Director, Mistra Urban Futures, henrietta.palmer@chalmers.se, phone: +46-76 60 55 307. 

Elma Durakovic, Coordinator, elma.durakovic@chalmers.se (on parental leave until August 2017)