ISC and Sustainability in the Digital Age partner to drive transformative system changes for an equitable world

ISC will work with the Sustainability in the Digital Age (SDA) initiative to further explore the opportunities and challenges that will leverage the digital revolution towards positive change.

The ISC has become a partner of the Sustainability in the Digital age initiative to drive transformative system change for a climate-safe, sustainable, and equitable world. SDA aims to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships and foster actions to leverage the transformative power of the digital age through research and innovation, training and network building, developing policy standards and best practices and providing collective foresight and intelligence. 

The partnership further strengthens ISC’s work on the Digital Revolution, as outlined in the Action Plan.

Global society is in the throes of a digital revolution that has transformed the way in which information and knowledge are acquired, stored, communicated and used. This revolution is distinguished by its speed, its global pervasiveness and its disruptive consequences. There are few areas of individual, commercial, social or political action that are unaffected. It poses powerful opportunities and radical challenges both to science and to society to adapt in ways that maximize beneficial opportunities and minimise negative outcomes.

“We must take into account that digitalisation is not a blessing in itself. It is ambivalent, and the link between sustainability and digital transformations has not yet been studied sufficiently. We must grasp the opportunities offered by the digital revolution and gear powerful technological innovations to sustainability.”

– Heide Hackmann, Chief Executive Officer, ISC

Through its work on research and innovation, training and networks, policy standards and best practices, and collective foresight and intelligence, the SDA aims to disrupt the rules, power structures and mindsets that constrain transformative actions.

“We are at a turning point, where we urgently need to lean in on research, innovations, and actions that enable us to capture the opportunities of and overcome the challenges to leveraging the digital age to build the world we choose. If we don’t, we are to likely to not only fail to meet our climate and sustainability targets, we will also face the threat that unguided digital transformations pose in accelerating humanity down an increasingly destructive path.”

– Amy Luers, Senior Advisor, Sustainability in the Digital Age

Instead, the SDA aims to steer changes in existing economic, governance, and cognitive systems towards transformation working at the intersection of digital technologies and sustainability to achieve these goals.


How the ISC is involved:

The ISC joins other other partners of the SDA, including Future Earth, Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (Mila) and the German Environment Agency (UBA) in the initiative.

The ISC’s representative on the Advisory Board is David Castle. Dr. Castle is a Professor in the School of Public Administration and the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, Canada. His expertise in science, technology and innovation policy will be very useful and relevant to the SDA. His research is focused on large-scale research infrastructure and big science, intellectual property and research data management and the social determinants of innovation and new technology regulation and adoption. Read more about Dr Castle.

What ISC members can do to become more involved:

  • ISC members can endorse the Montreal Statement, which aims to:
    • Call on leaders tackling the climate crisis and those working towards a just and equitable digital world to recognize that these agendas are interconnected.
    • Define priority areas for guiding digitally-enabled societal transformations—building on the strengths of all regions and communities —to facilitate a transition to a climate-safe and equitable world.
    • Build an international network of researchers, innovators, business leaders, and policymakers collectively working to leverage the digital age to drive these societal transformations.
  • Read the report – Where is the world headed post-COVID-19? Expected trends in the coming three years – the first in a series of reports to emerge from the rapid foresight survey launched in April 2020.
  • Subscribe to SDA’s mailing list to keep updated for the next series of foresight reports.

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