We are an open network of researchers, projects and institutes brought together around an international research agenda focusing on Global Sustainability Science.
We sponsor some of the world’s leading global-change research initiatives; for example, the projects on Past Global Changes, International Global Atmospheric Chemistry, and Earth System Governance.
Our projects are truly global and focus on societally relevant research questions relating to all aspects of the Earth system – from biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity to international governance and societal transformation. Our research is solutions- oriented and aims to identify socially viable pathways to sustainability.
Our Knowledge-Action Networks bring societal partners into the discussion to catalyse co-designed research in key focal areas:
- Water-Energy-Food Nexus
- Natural Assets
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Finance and Economics
Eight focal challenges
- Deliver water, energy, and food for all, and manage the synergies and trade-offs among them, by understanding how these interactions are shaped by environmental, economic, social and political changes.
- Decarbonise socio-economic systems to stabilise the climate by promoting the technological, economic, social, political and behavioural changes enabling transformations, while building knowledge about the impacts of climate change and adaptation responses for people and ecosystems.
- Safeguard the terrestrial, freshwater and marine natural assets underpinning human well-being by understanding relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and services, and developing effective valuation and governance approaches.
- Build healthy, resilient and productive cities by identifying and shaping innovations that combine better urban environments and lives with declining resource footprints, and provide efficient services and infrastructures that are robust to disasters.
- Promote sustainable rural futures to feed rising and more affluent populations amidst changes in biodiversity, resources and climate by analysing alternative land uses, food systems and ecosystem options, and identifying institutional and governance needs.
- Improve human health by elucidating, and finding responses to, the complex interactions among environmental change, pollution, pathogens, disease vectors, ecosystem services, and people’s livelihoods, nutrition and well-being.
- Encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns that are equitable by understanding the social and environmental impacts of consumption of all resources, opportunities for decoupling resource use from growth in well-being, and options for sustainable development pathways and related changes in human behaviour.
- Increase social resilience to future threats by building adaptive governance systems, developing early warning of global and connected thresholds and risks, and testing effective, accountable and transparent institutions that promote transformations to sustainability.