Thousands of researchers have been brought together with the launch of the Future Earth Program this week.

Future Earth is a global initiative of the International Council for Science that brings together leading researchers and billions of dollars worth of sustainability research programs across the world.

“Future Earth is a significant international research framework, and its focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability is of particular importance to our region,” said Professor Andrew Holmes, President of the Academy of Science.

“The Academy of Science will establish an Australasian node of this important program to ensure that Australia and our neighbours have an opportunity to realise the full benefits of the sustainability work that’s being undertaken across the globe.

The Academy has appointed Dr Imran Ahmad to oversee this ambitious program following support from the CSIRO, the University of Queensland, Macquarie University and the University of Sydney.

Dr Ahmad has extensive experience in international sustainability research, programs and policy through senior roles with the Global Green Growth Initiative, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

He said that the unique aspect of the Future Earth Program was the integration of physical sciences with the social sciences and humanities to achieve a truly holistic approach to some of humanity’s most complex problems.

“Australia faces unique sustainability challenges, and in many cases we don’t yet have good ways to address these,” Dr Ahmad said.

“Future Earth Australia will allow us to begin tackling challenges such as sustainable urban and agricultural development in parts of Australia that will have reduced rainfall by bringing together experts from fields such as agricultural science, urban planning, behavioural economics and history,  for example.” 

The launch of the Future Earth program follows an initial 18-month consultation and planning process involving each of Australia’s learned Academies that was funded by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).

More details are available here.