Future Earth appoints new members to its Science and Engagement Committees

Montreal, Canada. Photo: Michael Vesia via Flickr
Future Earth has inducted 13 new members to its Science and Engagement Committees ahead of their annual meeting in March in Montreal, Canada. These leaders will help to grow and evolve the vision of Future Earth as the programme works to carry out new research collaborations and engagement efforts.

Future Earth has announced that 13 new members will join its Science and Engagement Committees. The new appointees were chosen through a global search and with the goal of balancing the expertise, gender, geographical representation and career stage of each of the committees. The members will serve two-year terms, which began in February 2017, and will guide Future Earth as it addresses critical challenges facing the planet. They include efforts to slow the pace of climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the need to secure food, water and energy for a growing planet.

These experts will join the existing teams on the Science and Engagement Committees, which serve crucial leadership roles in Future Earth. They provide guidance on building research that is of the highest quality and around how Future Earth can include diverse members of society in all stages of the research process. The newest members of these communities are based around the globe from Brazil to Kenya and Norway to India. They also work on far-ranging issues from sustainable cities to food security and from trade and tourism to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

As part of the Science and Engagement Committees, these members will play an important role in moving forward Future Earth’s Knowledge-Action Networks. They are research collaborations that address key challenges in global sustainability.

“We would like to welcome these 13 impressive individuals to the Future Earth team," says Gordon McBean, President of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and Co-Chair of the Future Earth Governing Council. "They represent some of the world’s top minds in science, policy, business, civil society and so much more. They will bring valuable expertise, as well as new perspectives and voices, to Future Earth.”

He adds: “The Governing Council is pleased that the Committees continue to emphasise the global balance in geography, gender, disciplines and, gradually, age that the Governing Council apsires to see in Future Earth."

Science Committee

Future Earth’s Science Committee includes 18 members who provide guidance on evolving the programme’s research agenda. They ensure that Future Earth’s research makes use of the best available science and that it is focused on building solutions for sustainability.  

"We are all very excited to work with these amazing additions to the Science Committee," says Mark Stafford Smith,  Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee. "Our new members are not just accomplished researchers. They also recognise that research can, and should, provide crucial knowledge for helping societies to address the challenges facing us all."

The Science Committee added six new members in 2017:

Cosmas Ochieng is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Kenya, an organisation that focuses on “Harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development.”

Giovana Espindola is a Professor at the Federal University of Piauí in Brazil (UFPI). Her research focuses on  understanding the coupled human-environment system.

Kristie Ebi directs the Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) at the University of Washington in the United States. Her research has focused on a number of issues, including the health risks of climate variability and change.

Michelle Scobie is a lecturer and researcher at the Institute of International Relations and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine. She has practiced as an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Suneetha Mazhenchery Subramanian is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAI). She focuses on issues surrounding human wellbeing and the use of biodiversity.

Tatiana Kluvankova is an ecological institutional economist and professor of management. She chairs the department of Strategic Environmental Analyses at the SPECTRA Centre of Excellence, Bratislava, and Laboratory of Experimental Social Sciences in the Slovak Republic.

Engagement Committee

Future Earth’s Engagement Committee, which also includes 18 members, provides valuable insight in how the programme can design and produce research in collaboration with a range of groups. They include leaders in policy, business, civil society, the arts, media and more.

“Effective engagement at Future Earth means harnessing the expertise of people from many different professions and arenas to collaborate on the design and the production of our research," says Farooq Ullah, Chair of the Future Earth Engagement Committee. "Together with our new members, the Engagement Committee will continue to ensure that Future Earth generates knowledge that is relevant to the needs of society.”

The Engagement Committee added seven new members in 2017:

Alice Ruhweza is Executive Director of Vital Signs, an integrated monitoring system that works in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Vital Signs generates data and tools to support better decision-making for sustainable agriculture and food security.

Asuncion Lera St. Clair is Senior Principal Scientist at the Climate Action Programme of DNV GL Technology and Research Unit. Her current work focuses on private sector engagement for climate resilient pathways and sustainable development solutions.

Chandra Bhushan is Deputy Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi and the Consulting Editor of Down to Earth, India's leading science and environment fortnightly.

Dan Koon-hong Chan is project manager for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Initiative and cofounded the Local Pathways Fellowship. This initiative nurtures young urban practitioners to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and other efforts at the local level.

Joy Shumake-Guillemot leads the joint World Health Organization (WHO) and  World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Climate and Health Office, based in Switzerland.

Kathryn Myronuk is a founding staff member of Singularity University in the United States. It encourages "participants to shift from one field to another, sometimes on an hour-by-hour basis, creating connections to build solutions to solve global grand challenges."

Maruxa Cardama founded and serves as Executive Coordinator for Communitas, the Coalition for Sustainable Cities and Regions in the new UN Development Agenda, which seeks to “empower a New Urban Paradigm in human development."