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Arnold Tukker receives honorary doctorate at Swedish university

As one of the first environmental scientists ever, Arnold Tukker received the honorary doctorate at Linköping University on Saturday 12 November. This Swedish university awarded Tukker for his scientific work to establish a circular economy.

When Tukker received an email from Linköping University in April, he did not yet have very high expectations. 'Two Swedish colleagues needed my CV to nominate me for an honorary doctorate. I thought: five per cent chance, as against all those candidates from more established fields.' But then an e-mail from the Swedish dean appeared in mid-June: an offer for an honorary doctorate. Tukker: 'I still had a hard time grasping it. Only in September, when they insisted on having the circumference of my head and finger for the ceremonial hat and ring, did I begin to seriously believe it was going to happen.'

Tukker during his lecture in honour of his honorary doctorate. Credits: Olov Planthaber

Sustainability powerhouse

The fact that the doctorate is at Linköping University, only makes it more special. 'They lead the largest research project on circular economy (Mistra REES) in Scandinavia, one of the largest in the world. They approach the circular economy from different perspectives and are a valued cooperation partner for large companies, such as SAAB, Volvo and Electrolux. That's why they allow long-term strategic thinking with those companies. A real powerhouse!'

Twenty years of productive collaboration

Over the past 20 years, Tukker has also worked closely with researchers at Linköping University. 'Arnold Tukker has coordinated major European research projects on resource efficiency,' their website reads. 'He is being honoured for almost 20 years of productive collaboration with LiU researchers, providing valuable knowledge and inspiring new research projects.'

But this would not have been possible without the collaboration with his colleagues at the CML, Tukker believes: ‘Over the past nine years, this collaboration with colleagues and PhD students has allowed me to build up a substantial track record of publication and citations. That has definitely helped.’

An honorary doctorate in environmental sciences

Tukker receives the honorary doctorate along with four others including two professors, an interior and furniture designer and the CEO of the Linköping Science Park. Tukker himself receives the title for his scientific work to establish a circular economy. In this, he helps define the role of science, business, civil society and policy.

Group picture of the new honorary doctor - from left to right: Lena Miranda, CEO Linköping Science Park; Åke Axelsson, interior and furniture designer; Johan Ölvander, dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Linköping University and Arnold Tukker. Credits: Olov Planthaber

Stunning achievement

Tukker's colleagues at the CML are also proud. ‘This is an absolutely stunning achievement,’ says Professor of Ecotoxicology Martina Vijver. ‘Especially when you consider that Arnold is one of the first environmental scientists to receive such an honorary doctorate. We as colleagues at the CML are as proud of this achievement as he is.’

Centre for Sustainability

Tukker chairs the board of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability,  which brings together the research of a large number of researchers working on systems analysis, technology and design, business models and behaviour, and policies for a circular economy.

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