Dr. Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir is both an academic and an activist. Her research publications, teaching and activism focus on sustainability from a system´s perspective – including natural resource availability and management, as well as new economic thinking for the 21st century and actions needed to regenerate a thriving Earth for nature and people. Currently she sits on the Icelandic government´s Energy Policy Committee and its Climate Council. She was involved in developing indicators for prosperity and quality of life for the Prime Minister´s office and getting Iceland into membership of Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo). She has advised the government on higher education, education for sustainable development, nature protection, genetically modified organisms, futures thinking, and government policy plan. She was a member of Strategic Planning Team for the future of Reykjavik and on Green Tourism. Vala was a member of the Bhutanese´s government´s International Expert Working Group on a New Development Paradigm that advised Bhutan´s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals – with focus on new indicators to go beyond GDP. Vala has advised on green policies in Iceland, Sweden, UK, Bhutan and China and on European Commission´s Circular Economy Strategy. She led workshops in Bristol, UK, on visioning a sustainable city, laying the foundation for Bristol becoming the Green Capital of Europe.
Vala recently founded Scientists for Future in Iceland and is member of the Global Council and Ambassador of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll). She is vice-chair of the board of the Red Cross (Mosfellsbær), board member of Women for New Constitution, Breiðdalssetur science and cultural centre, Hallomsstaður sustainability school and Ecological Sequestration Trust. Previous board memberships includes The Balaton Group (Vice-president), Landsvirkjun energy company, Landverd nature conservation, Pyramid2030, 17Goals, Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity (ASAP) and Initiative for Equality.
Ragnarsdottir is Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Iceland where she was Dean of Engineering and Natural Sciences and was previously Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Bristol, UK. She has been visiting professor at universities in Europe, USA, Thailand, and Australia. Vala is Member of Academia Europaea, as well as the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Icelandic Academy, and Royal Society of Arts and Letters (UK). She is Distinguished Fellow at the Schumacher Institute (UK), and received their Award of Excellence Furthering Sustainability and Equality Learning. Other awards include Balaton Group Member of the Year and Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development.