SEI is an international non-profit research and policy organization that tackles environment and development challenges. We connect science and decision-making to develop solutions for a sustainable future for all.
Our approach is highly collaborative: stakeholder involvement is at the heart of our efforts to build capacity, strengthen institutions, and equip partners for the long term. Through our eight centres in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, we engage with policy processes, development action and business practice throughout the world.
Bridging science and policy is the core of SEI’s work. We translate research from the academic literature into formats that make scientific insights applicable to policy. We turn insight and analysis into practical applications and services. These practical tools help decision makers identify priorities, see connections and take advantage of synergies.
SEI was set up by the Swedish government in 1989 to act as an international institute in the field of environment and development. Its activities build upon the insights gained at the UN conference on environment and development in Stockholm in 1972, which emphasised the impossibility of separating environmental concerns from development.
When SEI was set up, it asked the then Director of the Beijer Institute in Stockholm to become the first SEI Executive Director. The work of the Beijer Institute was a foundation upon which the initial development of SEI was built, and one centre of the Beijer Institute had been set up by Professor Mike Chadwick, who had been an academic in the Department of Biology from early in the University’s history. Together with another centre in Boston in the US, the York Centre, under the Direction of Mike Chadwick, became one of the founding centres with Stockholm.
SEI works from seven main locations, with additional offices linked to these. The SEI foundation in Sweden consists of SEI Stockholm, SEI Asia, SEI Africa, SEI Latin America and SEI Oxford. SEI Tallinn, SEI US and SEI York are separate entities and associations under the SEI umbrella and governed by the same Board of Directors.
Since 2012, SEI has been ranked among the top two think tanks in the world working on environment policy, ranking second in 2017. SEI was placed first in 2016 and second in the previous three years’ rankings. The Global Go To Think Tank Index is compiled by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. Organisations are ranked on a detailed set of criteria, including quality and level of output, impact, and resource use.
To more effectively address key issues in sustainable development, SEI has invested in a set of initiatives that serve as research hubs, connecting and synergizing our projects and activities. Read more about these on the SEI website:
SEI's mission is 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.
The York centre of SEI started off within the Department of Biology at the University of York but is now part of the Department of Environment and Geography to realise the opportunities for joint research that exist between Environment and SEI-York.
SEI-York has built a reputation for bridging science and policy locally in Yorkshire, with regional and national policy makers in the UK and internationally in a number of key areas.
In the UK, SEI-York has worked on issues related to consumption and behaviour and the impacts of our affluent society on the environment. In developing countries, SEI-York’s activities have concentrated on atmospheric issues, from air pollution in urban centres, to regional air pollution and its interaction with climate change. In Africa, SEI-York works at local scales, attempting to improve management of water resources in arid areas to improve agricultural yields. It has built an interdisciplinary team as addressing the complex problems of environment and development require the combination of many disciplines.
The SEI York centre has 36 core members of staff and is located within the University of York. All staff are employed by the University of York. In addition there are a number of joint appointments with various other university departments. York staff also participate in teaching as well as PhD and Post-Doc/MSc /MRes supervision. The York centre is also part of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) and the International Global Development Centre, two of the University's cross-campus, cross-disciplinary research organisations.
Through the OPAL project, SEI York has also developed a wildlife recording website (opal.sei-international.org) for the university. Staff, students and visitors are encouraged to submit their wildlife sightings to help produce a picture of the biodiversity on campus.
Visit the main SEI Website for further information - www.sei.org