Research areas

At the University of Gävle, research is divided into three main areas – Built Environment, Health-Promoting Working Life, and Educational Sciences and Humanities. Short descriptions of our most recent research can be found below, with links to more detailed information within each area.

Built Environment

Built Environment is a profile which comprises several research teams at the University of Gävle, where the common goal is to promote people’s living environment. Research in the Built Environment is an internationally recognised multidisciplinary research environment, and at the University of Gävle we have had the power to award third-cycle qualifications in the field since 2010.

The sustainability perspective and the interplay between technology and people are key to this research profile, the main themes of which are

  • constructions and surroundings
  • technical systems and information processing
  • resource efficiency and environmental impact.

Read more about research at the Faculty of engineering and sustainable development

Energy systems

Energy systems is a technical subject characterised by a systems approach and a holistic view with a long-term perspective, in which we attach great importance to resource conservation and reduced environmental impact.

Research in energy systems at the University of Gävle touches on three main areas: buildings’ energy systems, industrial energy systems and both regional and national energy systems. The fundamental idea behind the research subject is to take conscious and active measures when planning and constructing a new energy system and when making alterations to an existing one.

Environmental engineering

This subject covers all products, systems, processes and services which, from a life-cycle perspective, provide clear advantages over existing or alternative solutions with regard to environmental impact. The main purpose of our research and education in the subject is to provide support for decisions in order to achieve a good standard of built environment.

The research has several areas of application:

  • buildings and city districts, with a development towards sustainable urban development
  • waste and resource management, with a development towards a circular economy
  • fuel and transport, with a development towards sustainable transport systems
  • water and sewage treatment, with a development towards sustainable water and sewage systems.

Electroical engineering

The University of Gävle has conducted research and education in the field of electronics for many years, but in line with study programmes changing and our new additions of an engineering programme and a masters programme in automation, the research has broadened in scope, which is why we now use the term electrical engineering.

These are the engineering sciences concerned with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism.

Our research in the subject focuses on the following sections:

  • electrical measurement technology, especially radio frequency measurement technology, with the purpose of achieving energy efficient components
  • radio communication, with the purpose of improving safety in the work environment
  • sensor technology and sensor-related signal processing, with a focus on gas detectors
  • automatic control, heating and ventilation systems
  • robotics, with the purpose of enabling the elderly to live a richer life and with a focus on safety issues.

Geospatial information science

Our research in this subject, under the Built Environment profile, contributes to developing knowledge and methods which enable us to benefit from geographical and spatial information on people’s behaviour and living environment.

Examples of our previous or current research include

  • modelling and simulation of floods
  • visualisation of uncertainties in flood analyses and risks in close proximity to buildings
  • 3D modelling and analysis of solar energy potential in urban environments
  • geodetic measurement for deformation analyses
  • recording and geospatial analysis of traffic flows in cities
  • modelling and analysis of urban development.

Decision, risk and policy analysis

The subject’s core is the development of methods for decision analysis, risk analysis and policy analysis, though this also includes critically examining existing methods. The goal of our research is to enable decision makers to make rational and well-founded decisions, and it is especially important within the Built Environment profile to have good methods for this as the decisions are often very difficult, involving an aggregate assessment of several different aspects.

Environmental psychology

Within this subject, we investigate the sociophysical environment with the help of empirical studies, preferably through experimental methods. We look at how the built environment and the natural environment affect people and how individuals and groups affect the environment through their behaviour.

A central aspect of environmental psychology is how psychological processes – memory, experiences, attitudes, cognition, etc. – figures in behaviours which affect or are affected by the environment.

Industrial engineering and management

Industrial engineering and management is a multidisciplinary subject which has its foundations in engineering sciences but which also crosses over into the social sciences. Here, the interaction between people, technology and organisation is a key element. Our focus is on knowledge development of practical relevance to the management of production and innovation in industrial enterprises and organisations. This includes questions and knowledge on

  • innovation management
  • industrial organisation and project management
  • logistics
  • supply chain management
  • industrial marketing
  • quality control and management for sustainability
  • environmental engineering
  • human work sciences.
  1. Read more about our research in Industrial engineering and management

Business administration

Our research in business administration is profiled towards sustainable markets, strategic networks and risk management; all projects are carried out under the overarching research theme Sustainable business relations (HAR). This makes our research distinctive both nationally and internationally.

Mathematics and statistics

This subject is based on questions which arise in organisations and companies and finding solutions to these. Our research is focused on the area of Sustainable Business Relations, which strengthens the University’s vision and goal for all development to contribute to sustainable living environments for people. We adopt quantitative and qualitative methods in order to analyse how sustainable business relations are formed, developed and maintained in different forms of companies and organisations.

Studies are focused on three research themes:

  • sustainable markets – how innovative companies can develop market-oriented knowledge and sustainable development
  • strategic networks – how challenges and critical factors are handled when different values are created through innovative digital processes
  • risk management – how traditional accounting is linked to requirements for sustainability reporting and how resource theory can pave the way for sustainability accounting.

Health-Promoting Working Life

Our research within the profile area Health-Promoting Working Life at the University of Gävle comprises the fields public health, health sciences, social work and psychology. The University of Gävle has third-cycle programmes within the subjects occupational health sciences and social work.

Occupational health sciences

Our research in occupational health sciences is mainly carried out at our Centre for Musculoskeletal Research at the Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, a centre which has a long tradition of international renown. Our research is organised into five programmes: The Forte-centre, Physical and mental variation, Visual ergonomics, Cost-efficient measurement of physical load, Work environment and leadership and, finally, Diagnosis and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders. These thematic programmes engage researchers from a number of disciplines, for instance, medicine, ergonomics, physiotherapy, epidemiology, psychology and statistics.

Public health

Our research in public health focuses on the impact of conditions on the labour market and workplaces on people’s psychological and physical health. We explore, for example, the impact of working and living conditions on people in the Gävleborg region.

Caring sciences

Within the area of caring sciences, we carry out research focused on the caring and nursing of the elderly, on living with chronic ill-health, as well as on health-promoting working life within care and nursing.

Social work and psychology

Our research in social work and psychology is focused on children’s and adolescents’ psychosocial situation, psychosocial health and well-being—also in relation to addiction and health, and on organisation, leadership and working life. Our research projects explore, for instance, how we can restore psychosocial health when treating people with addiction problems, children and adolescents’ life environments including school environments and entry into working life, ageing research, coping strategies and life crises, and, finally, on marginalised groups and psychosocial health.


We carry out research within ecology, hortonomy and microbiology. Within these fields, we focus on the environment and sustainable development, for instance regarding sustainable fishing, the impact of global warming on different species, IT-solutions for cultivators and alternative fuels.

Educational sciences and the humanities

Within the field of educational sciences at the University of Gävle, research is carried out within established disciplines like curriculum studies, education, and discipline-based education research. Our research has its base in curriculum studies and education, in association with art education and educational drama. An important focus for us is regional collaboration to build sustainable networks aiming to benefit our teacher education, but also to be involved in the development of our community. Our research also contributes to multidisciplinary work at our University, as we collaborate with researchers in the fields of environmental psychology, computer science, natural sciences and technology.

Curriculum studies

In curriculum studies, we carry out research on the importance of educational environments, professions and professionalism, preschools, preschool classes and school-age educare, IT in learning and student-active teaching.


In education, our research concerns assessment, educational policies, health education, applied educational science, adult learning and mobbing.

Discipline-based education research

In discipline-based education research, we carry out research in biology and mathematics, in relation to gender perspectives in schools and higher education, as well as in connection to visual culture and children's life issues.

Religious studies

The overarching theme in our research is the role of religion in society. Within this frame, we carry out research concerning the life issues of children and young people, on the teaching of belief and science in upper secondary school, on martyrdom and fundamentalism. Moreover, we carry out research in comparative religious studies as well as within different branches of the discipline.

Swedish, comparative literature and gender studies

Our research within Swedish and Nordic languages is focused on, for instance, second language research with a focus on discipline-based education research, Swedish as a second language, written language use and norms of language, the history of language and medieval handwritten documents. Our researchers within comparative literature explore fiction in general, as well as science fiction and fantasy, from gender theoretical perspectives and from the perspective of philosophy of science.

Published by: Hasse Nordlöf Page responsible: Hasse Nordlöf Updated: 2019-02-26
Högskolan i Gävle
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