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 defining, advancing and 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 helped introduce and are now leading the evolution of our understanding of the Anthropocene, a new epoch in the geologic history of Earth marked by the influence of humans on the planet.