Future Earth Initial Design Report

This is the final report of the Transition Team, the group of experts that led the initial design of Future Earth.

The team comprised seventeen members from a wide range of disciplines and countries, and also included ex-officio members representing the main partners of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability.

Co-chaired by Johan Rockström and Diana Liverman, the team proposed a vision for integrated and solutions-oriented research that can support a transformation towards global sustainability over the coming decade. The report sets out the initial design of Future Earth, comprising a research framework and governance structure, preliminary reflections on communication and engagement, capacity-building and education strategies, and implementation guidelines.

Structuring the research agenda around three central themes – dynamic planet; global development; transformations towards sustainability – the report details the key research questions that will be addressed in each area. At its core lies a new partnership between science and society to co-design research priorities and co-produce knowledge.

To ensure that the research conducted under the umbrella of Future Earth is actionable, relevant to stakeholders and done to the highest scientific standards, the team also designed a unique governance structure for the initiative. Led by a multi-stakeholder Governing Council, the ultimate decision-making body, Future Earth's direction will be guided by a Science Committee and an Engagement Committee. The Science Committee will provide scientific guidance, ensure scientific quality and guide the development of new projects. The Engagement Committee will provide leadership and strategic guidance on involving stakeholders throughout the entire research process from co-design to dissemination, ensuring that Future Earth produces the knowledge that society needs.