21/03/2023NewsEarth Commission News

Call for Nominations: Scientific experts sought for the Earth Commission

Please note this call has now closed (24 April 2023)

Future Earth invites nominations for new experts to join the Earth Commission’s second assessment. The aim is to synthesise the latest knowledge on Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries for people and the planet. Nominees should be collaborative, big-picture thinkers with a track record of working across disciplines and contributing to multidisciplinary collaborations. Self-nominations are accepted.

Experts on novel entities (chemical pollution, micro plastics etc.) and marine ecosystems are of particular interest as well as scholars focusing on the human dimensions of Earth system change (causes, consequences, responses and tradeoffs) including social science, economics and justice, as well as transformative solutions.

Researchers with a broad outlook from Future Earth’s Global Research Networks and beyond are encouraged to submit their nominations by 24 April 2023 (extended deadline).

About the Earth Commission

The Earth Commission is a global-scale assessment and synthesis research initiative hosted by Future Earth. The Commission’s objective is to define safe and just Earth system boundaries for people and the planet. This includes knowledge on transformations and pathways to stay within these boundaries, and assessing how they can be translated to inform real world application, for example by underpinning the setting of science-based targets by actors such as companies, cities and governments.

The Commission is the scientific cornerstone of the Global Commons Alliance (GCA) and collaborates closely with other GCA components. The science from the Earth Commission informs the Science Based Targets Network and Systems Change Lab  who are working with stakeholders to set science-based targets and mobilise transformative action.

The Earth Commission’s first phase of work (2019-2022) defined safe and just Earth system boundaries (ESBs) for climate, the biosphere, nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), freshwater, and air pollution. The main synthesis papers will be published in high-impact journals in the coming months, a preview presentation can be found here. Additional publications are presented here. 

About the Call for Experts

This call pertains to the second assessment which will build on, update and advance the first iteration of safe and just ESBs. Other specific objectives include to: 

  • Identify new ESBs for novel entities (e.g. pollution from chemical compounds, microplastics) and oceans. 
  • Deepen the integration between natural and social sciences.
  • Refine the definition of and integration of elements of justice, such as avoiding significant harm, in the ESBs. 
  • Launch and implement a Tipping Points Modelling Intercomparison Project.
  • Update and refine knowledge about levers, barriers and actors of transformations and systems change, cross-scale translation methods, tradeoffs, and pathways to a safe and just future. 

The Earth Commission will produce a peer-reviewed synthesis report as a second assessment, to be submitted for publication within three years.

Future Earth now seeks new experts to be appointed to the Commission. About two-thirds of current Commissioners will be reappointed for consistency. New experts will be appointed to broaden the expertise of the group for addressing the challenges outlined above. The Commission will consist of around 20 internationally recognised experts from diverse geographies and with strong interdisciplinary skills. Additional experts may be invited to contribute as co-authors, or to participate in workshops. 

Nominations are encouraged from researchers with a background of academic excellence and experience of working across disciplines in international teams. The Commission seeks integrative, big picture thinkers with experience of collaborative synthesis. Whilst seniority and leadership skills are crucial, nominations of outstanding early career researchers are also encouraged. Nominees must hold a PhD in a relevant discipline and be fluent in English.

Opportunity and commitment 

To be a Commissioner is a prestigious and exciting opportunity to co-create high-impact transdisciplinary knowledge with connections to stakeholders driving change. It is a voluntary commitment which requires 15 – 20 percent of working hours over a 3-year period. The nominees should be able to commit to attending at least one in-person meeting per year (travel costs are covered by the Commission), and regular online-meetings and writing tasks in between. Opportunities include engaging with events with external stakeholders and giving scientific presentations on the Commissions work, in particular engaging with the other components of the Global Commons Alliance.

The work of the Commission is facilitated by a secretariat, including postdoctoral scholars, which provides scientific and administrative support. Future Earth and the Earth Commission are committed to supporting inclusive engagement opportunities. Financial support mechanisms are available for appointed Commissioners from low and middle income countries.

Nomination and appointment process 

This call closed on 24 April 2023.

The members of the Commission will be appointed following Future Earth’s principles of diversity, with the group being balanced in terms of expertise, gender and geographies. 

Further inquiries can be addressed to the Secretariat:
Lisa Jacobson, Program Manager lisa.jacobson@futureearth.org