At Future Earth, we believe that research, innovation and collaboration can transform the world toward sustainability. We harness the experience and reach of thousands of scientists and innovators from across the globe. Together, this global community facilitates research, mobilises networks, sparks innovation and turns knowledge into action.
“We urgently need a radical shift in how global society interacts with Earth. Human activities today are disrupting our planet in ways that threaten our air quality, water reliability, food security, and the stability of our climate and ecosystems. Real transformations to overcome these challenges will only happen if we work together – science, technology, business, government, and civil society – as one.”
– Amy Luers, Executive Director, Future Earth
Our organisation is rooted in the work of 20 Global Research Projects. These networks have a long history, in some cases stretching back decades, of generating research at the forefront of sustainability science. They played a critical role in forming the field of Earth system science – which considers how all of the parts of the planet, including human societies, connect to and shape each other. Our Global Research Projects also led in defining the Anthropocene, a new epoch in the geologic history of Earth marked by the influence of humans on the planet.
Future Earth builds on this scientific legacy to accelerate transformations to sustainability through research and innovation. We are a major international convenor that fosters a culture of an engaged research based on the co-design and co-production of knowledge and tools.
We work to incorporate the latest research findings into government, business and community decisions and policies. The Global Carbon Project’s annual projections of greenhouse gas emissions, for example, have helped to shape the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change. We experiment in generating new ideas, innovations, and collaborations. In that vein, we are working with tech companies to develop new approaches to reducing carbon emissions. We also foster networks of early career researchers and other innovators, encouraging new ways of thinking about how sustainability research and practice gets done.
Learn more about our history here
Future Earth's research and other activities address two overarching concepts:
The pace of change occurring across the globe is accelerating. Future Earth works to understand humanity’s place in this rapidly changing world and how societies can transform how people interact with the planet.
- Our 20 Global Research Projects explore how humans influence the planet’s land, air, water and biodiversity – and vice-versa.
- The Seeds of Good Anthropocenes project gathers examples of how people are already transforming their communities in sustainable and equitable ways.
- Anthropocene magazine delivers science journalism to showcase innovative solutions to sustainability problems.
Sustainable Development Goals
Through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world has committed to undertake one of the most profound social and environmental transformations in human history. Future Earth works to develop the knowledge and tools that nations across the globe need to meet the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We also work to achieve the ambitions of related agreements, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.
- We launched more than 20 SDG Labs to innovate solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. These prototype projects explored planting trees in Nigeria, Indigenous knowledge on health in Fiji and more.
- The Future Earth Regional Centre in Asia is leading work to better understand patterns of consumption and production in the Global North and South.
- The upcoming Seedbeds of Transformation conference in South Africa will provide a “marketplace” where innovators from across Africa can share their ideas for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Read about the role of science in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in a report led by the German Committee Future Earth.
Our mission is to accelerate transformations to global sustainability through research and innovation. To achieve this mission, Future Earth leads activities in four major areas:
We facilitate and amplify research
- Check out the work of 20 Global Research Projects, diverse networks that generate ground-breaking research on global environmental change.
- Explore funding opportunities through our PEGASuS grants programme.
- Discover insights from recent research on valuing biodiversity; how volcanic eruptions helped to trigger unrest in Ancient Egypt; the evolution of humanity’s relationship with the environment over millennia; and the links between poverty and vulnerability in Mumbai.
We convene and mobilise networks
- Connect with our thematic Knowledge-Action Networks.
- Read about our work with early career professionals.
- Find out about a new network for sustainability scholars who are underrepresented in the sciences.
- Learn about a conference on sustainability research and action in Africa.
- Sign up for the Open Network powered by Future Earth.
We spark and promote innovation
- Take a look at projects innovating around data visualisation, virtual reality and more from the Future Earth Media Lab.
- Learn about our work with the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness.
- Explore how we are experimenting with collective intelligence with the Climate Risk CoLabs.
We turn knowledge into action
- Explore data from the Global Carbon Budget, which tracks the world’s progress toward meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
- See our statement on the “10 science ‘must knows’ on climate change” – released jointly with Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Discover the options available for the world to feed a growing population without causing further deforestation.
- Learn about a collaboration with the tech sector to realise the Carbon Law, a new roadmap for making the global energy sector carbon neutral by 2050.
- Read stories about how innovators around the world are building solutions for sustainability in Future Earth’s award-winning magazine, Anthropocene.
The challenges facing the planet and its people today are vast and complex. Coral reefs and rainforests are disappearing. Global temperatures are rising. And in societies around the globe, inequality is soaring. At Future Earth, we are convinced that the only way to accelerate transformations to a more sustainable and equitable planet is for the world to draw on its collective knowledge.
That is why we build on our global network of thousands of researchers to spark and guide scientific inquiry on the planet’s land, air and water – and the people and biodiversity that depend on them for their survival. We also recognise that the research community on its own cannot adequately address these challenges. That is why we also collaborate with innovators in policy, business and civil society to generate research that meets society’s needs.
We believe that only by working together can science and society shape and harness knowledge that is more than just the sum of its parts – knowledge that can empower people around the world to transform their communities and environment in sustainable and equitable ways.