Juan C. Rocha

Researcher in Environmental and Sustainability science at Stockholm University

Membership period 2023–2028

Under current pressures of humans on the planet many ecosystems are at risk of undergoing large, abrupt, and persistent changes. Examples of these “regime shifts” include the collapse of fisheries, the shift from forest to savannahs, or the melting of ice sheets. Regime shifts are difficult to predict, costly or sometimes impossible to reverse, and they often impact the benefits people get from nature such as food or climate regulation.

My research investigates the main causes and consequences of regime shifts globally. My work has explored causal mechanisms that can connect different regime shifts, potentially amplifying their impacts and risk. I am deeply interested on how businesses, financial actors, cities, or countries are exposed to the risk of tipping points. I believe that creating awareness of where regime shifts could occur and who is exposed can empower actors to manage better their ecosystems or take preventive action. I am also interested on how people adapt to changes in their environment, whether the probability of regime shifts could undermine cooperative efforts, or how inequality impacts our ability to protect the biosphere.

In summary, my research aims to understand how cities, businesses or nations can achieve sustainable development.

Jessica Jewell Foto: Udo Shloegl

Press photo (click for high resolution): Cecilia Nordstrand


Interests: I enjoy being out in nature. In the spring and summer I am usually out with my family hiking and kayaking. During the colder part of the year, I focus on indoor climbing, yoga and running.

Other: I was born and raised in Colombia. Before I came back to Sweden, I was a postdoc in the USA (Princeton and MIT). I cycle all year round. I saw the sea for the first time in Chile when I was 14 years old. I saw snow for the first time here in Stockholm when I was 24 years old.

Science is a social endeavour. It requires collaboration, a mix of ideas and a dialogue with society about what its needs and values are. I am part of the Young Academy of Sweden to broaden my horizon of collaborations, and voices that inform and inspire my research. As a member of the academy, I want to pursue issues related to inclusion in the academy. With my background in sustainability science, I am interested in how we create problems with sustainable development because framing can limit the range of solutions."

Young Academy of Sweden
c/o The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Box 50005
SE-104 05 Stockholm

+ 46 (0)8 673 9500

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