• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .
Published: July 1, 2013

Future Earth interim director announced

News |
Professor Frans Berkhout will be the Interim Director of Future Earth. The announcement was made today by the International Council for Science (ICSU), on behalf of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability.
Professor Berkhout will lead the implementation of Future Earth – bringing existing and new research communities and stakeholders together to deliver solutions-oriented knowledge for global sustainability.

He will take up his 18 month role on 1 July 2013.  By the time he completes his mandate, Future Earth will be fully operational, with a permanent, regionally-distributed programme secretariat in place.

“Making transitions to sustainability is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today,” said Berkhout.  “Delivering the scientific knowledge to make that transition is a complex and challenging task. Future Earth offers unprecedented opportunities to rally scientists and other stakeholders around this common goal. I look forward to working closely with the scientific community to make that a reality and am honoured by the trust the Alliance has placed in me,” he added.

Professor Berkhout is an outstanding social scientist based at the Department of Geography, King’s College London, with a broad portfolio of research interests and expertise, ranging from science and technology policy to global environmental change.  He will spend 80% of his time as Future Earth Interim Director.

“I am delighted that Frans Berkhout has accepted this appointment to become the Interim Director of Future Earth,” said Professor Yuan Tseh Lee, President of ICSU and Nobel Laureate. “As Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the VU University in Amsterdam, he successfully led a major research organization through a period of change and into a new era focused on excellence, interdisciplinarity and science for impact,” Lee added.

“With his breadth of experience across scientific disciplines and his excellent communications skills, I am supremely confident he will steer Future Earth through this critical transition phase and sow the seeds for making the Future Earth vision of providing solutions-oriented research for society a reality.”

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