Friday 30th September 2016                 Change text size:

Report calls on researchers to step-change to address world challenges



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If the world is to address the serious environmental, social and economic challenges it currently faces than a step-change in research is needed, according to a new report.

The report – Strategic Research Agenda 2014 – has been published by Future Earth, a global research platform that brings together scientists from across disciplines to research on three themes – dynamic planet, global sustainable development and transformations towards sustainability.

The paper urges the private sector, governments and civil society to work with researchers co-produce a more “agile global innovation”. It sets out what Future Earth needs to achieve in order to reach its vision of a sustainable and equitable world by 2025.

Frans Berkhout, interim director of Future Earth, explained, “Science is crucial if we are to address today’s complex, interconnected issues – achieving water, energy and food security, in the context of climate change, whilst decarbonising energy sources and safeguarding Earth’s life support systems.”

Berkhout added, “If we are to meet society’s emerging needs, and adequately inform businesses, policymakers and practitioners with actionable knowledge, I believe that funding for solutions-orientated integrated research must increase rapidly and substantially.

“This must go hand in hand with a commitment from researchers and policymakers to engage more closely to ensure the relevance of their work.”

In the report, Future Earth sets out eight global challenges, including decoupling carbon emissions from economic growth, improving governance and early warning system to respond to complex future threats and encouraging sustainable consumption. It then explains how the platform will work to change these issues.

Mark Stafford Smith, chair of Future Earth’s Science committee, commented, “Research desperately needs a seismic shift towards being more nimble in framing and prioritising the problems we work on, to ensure that we find concrete solutions with decisions makers.”

Photo: alfi007 via Freeimages 

Further reading:

Climate change to amplify risk of conflict

World must cut meat consumption to curb climate change

Investors asked to disclose climate change risks

Energy security, fuel poverty and social change: the lowdown on renewables

Cameron: ‘social investment can be a great force for social change on the planet’


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