About SEI

SEI at a glance

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SEI is an independent international research institute. We have been engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 25 years.

SEI was formally established in 1989 by the Swedish Government and celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2014. Our goal is to bring about change for sustainable development by bridging science and policy. We do this by providing integrated analysis that supports decision-makers. The institute has built a reputation for rigorous and objective scientific analysis in the field of environment and development.

Our vision

A sustainable, prosperous future for all.

Our mission

To support decision-making and induce change towards sustainable development around the world by providing integrative knowledge that bridges science and policy in the field of environment and development.

How we work

We believe that scientific insights can guide us through change and should inform decision making and public policy. We also believe that local knowledge and values are crucial in building sustainable lives. Our approach is often highly collaborative, and stakeholder involvement has always been at the heart of SEI’s work. Our projects help to build capacity and strengthen institutions to equip our partners for the long-term.

Our research tackles overarching issues like climate change, energy systems, food security, water and urbanization, as well as specific problems like air pollution.

SEI is an innovator, and has consistently shown the vision to confront issues before they enter the mainstream: our pioneering work on renewable energy and sustainable sanitation has its roots in the early days of the Institute.

Who we work with

We engage with our four core audiences in the North and South: academia, public policy decision makers, media and NGOs. SEI has a trusted position as a convener of dialogues that bridge different constituencies -- North and South, business and research, policy and research -- through events such as the Nobel Dialogues at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

We also reach out to a broader spectrum of change makers by engaging with the business sector and presenting insights that are relevant for companies - for example, in May 2012 SEI co-hosted a conference for 300 business leaders with the Stockholm School of Economics.

SEI publishes widely in peer-reviewed journals and hosts Climate and Development journal, the leading international peer-reviewed journal on the links between climate and development.

What makes us different

We combine the qualities of:

  • a non-profit and non-partisan research institute
  • an honest broker in handling complex environmental, developmental and social issues
  • a research institute committed to rigorous and objective scientific analysis to support improved policymaking
  • an agent for change that promotes transitions to a more sustainable world.


SEI’s five-year strategy and four research themes

SEI has been providing knowledge and solutions for sustainability for the past 25 years – a period of dizzying economic, social, and environmental change. Our strategy for 2015–19 builds on our strengths and supports innovation so that SEI can better respond to emerging challenges – and harness opportunities – to contribute to a better future for all. It is based on thorough consultations with our staff, Board, Scientific Advisory Council and external partners. It also builds on SEI’s previous strategy and the experience gained from the past five years of successful development.

The strategy steers SEI’s research direction, policy engagement, and capacity development for the coming five years. It also sets out our goals for communication, our signature tools and information technology, management  and finances, and how we learn as an organization and monitor our work. Each of the elements in this strategy feeds into and supports the others, and all of them underpin the outcomes we strive for.

Explore the SEI Strategy 2015-2019

Download the SEI Strategy 2015-2019

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