The Grand Challenge

The Industrial Revolution was a turning point in human history. The “great acceleration” of human presence and impact on Earth that took off in its wake resulted in a rapid expansion in knowledge development, well-being and prosperity. While this has delivered tremendous benefits for billions of people, human activities have now grown to a scale where they play a significant role in shaping the dynamics of the Earth System as a whole, matching the great forces of nature. A growing number of scientists therefore suggest we have entered a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. This new epoch reflects a biosphere in which humanity and nature are truly intertwined.

One of the grand challenges of the Anthropocene epoch is to continue development in a way that enables existing and future generations to benefit from this development. A core task is therefore to provide opportunities for prosperous social and economic development within the frames set by the capacity of the biosphere to sustain it.

This calls for novel ways of looking at the world and how it is interlinked, uncovering and addressing unexpected connections and causalities while simultaneously creating space for innovation and new pathways of development operating in concert with the dynamics of the biosphere.

During its first 5-year phase the Global Economic Dynamics for the Biosphere program (GEDB) has conducted science for change at the frontier of interdisciplinary research in largely unexplored areas. We have searched for critical connections, causalities and new discoveries and at the same time engaged with relevant stakeholders and actors in new forms of collaboration for concrete action. The research has been broadly pursued within three research themes; (Macro)economy and the Biosphere,Marine resource trade and its effects on social-ecological systems, and Interactions between financial markets and the biosphere.

A new phase of research

As of 2019 GEDB enters its next 5-year funding cycle. In this second phase we will organize our research to address two key issues that require urgent attention as part of the grand challenges ahead; rising global human and biosphere health issues, and the need to harness economic forces to ensure biosphere integrity. As such we will pursue two research streams: Biosphere Finance and Global Health and Biosphere Stewardship

More about the GEDB

The Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Program (GEDB) is an Academy research programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Programme addresses the economic dynamics of global change and its implications for a sustainable future, and is funded by the Erling-Persson Family Foundation. For more information about the programme see:

If you have questions about our research, then you can contact the researchers directly. You will find their contact details on our staff page.