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Home > News centre > Latest news > Future Earth inaugural Science Committee announced, CSIRO’s Mark Stafford Smith to be first chair

Future Earth inaugural Science Committee announced, CSIRO’s Mark Stafford Smith to be first chair

The science committee will provide scientific guidance, ensure scientific quality and guide the development of new projects.

The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), on behalf of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability announced today the members of the first Science Committee for Future Earth, a new 10-year research programme on global sustainability.

Mark Stafford Smith, Science Director of CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship in Canberra, Australia will be the inaugural Chair, Melissa Leach, Director of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre in the UK and Belinda Reyers, a Chief Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, will serve as Vice Chairs.

“Future Earth is going to change the way we do science globally. It represents a unique opportunity to provide the research needed to address the biggest challenges of our time on global sustainability, and to do so in partnership with decision-makers,” Stafford Smith said. “We’ve assembled an impressive and truly international team for this committee; we are all looking forward to continuing to develop the science agenda and global networks for this innovative programme.”

The committee will comprise 18 members and encompasses the diversity of disciplines and expertise needed to address global environmental change in all its dimensions, including natural and social sciences, humanities and engineering.

The Science Committee is the first of the governance bodies to be appointed for Future Earth, which will be supported by an interim secretariat until a permanent secretariat is set up in 2014.

The Committee will make recommendations on new and existing projects, and emerging priorities for research. It will oversee the transition of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and Diversitas activities into Future Earth, secure strong partnership with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) community and provide guidance on new activities for Future Earth.

The Chair and Vice Chairs will serve from June 2013-2016, the Science Committee members will serve from June 2013-2015, both terms being extendable.

The full list of members is available here.

Stafford Smith, in his position of Science Director, Climate Adaptation Flagship, currently oversees an interdisciplinary programme of research on many aspects of adapting to climate change. He has more than thirty years experience in drylands systems ecology, management and policy, including senior roles in Australia.  He was also an ICSU-appointed member, later Vice Chair, of IGBP’s Scientific Committee during 2003-2009; and co-chair of the Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions conference on global environmental change in the lead up to Rio+20 in 2012.

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