2nd Global Forum of Funders: Missions for science to enable a prosperous future for all

The Global Forum of Funders was held in April 2021, where participants from more than 70 countries joined the online forum to find solutions on how to scale up efforts by funding communities that support science for the SDGs. See the videos and slideshows below to learn more.
2nd Global Forum of Funders: Missions for science to enable a prosperous future for all

The Forum brought together leaders from national research funding agencies, foundations and development aid agencies, as well as eminent individuals across the globe who share a common vision of advancing science for a sustainable future for all.

Recognizing this pivotal moment in time, the Forum will provide a unique dialogue space to stimulate ideas and action for fostering collaboration, improving coordination and the mobilization of future funding in mission-oriented science for global sustainability.

More specifically, the strategic objectives of the Global Forum of Funders are threefold:

  1. To present a framework for global action on mission-oriented research that will help accelerate SDG implementation in the next decade;
  2. To discuss with science funders how to enhance science systems globally to support societal transformations towards sustainable development; and
  3. To explore strategies and mechanisms for accelerating collaboration between science funders to support mission-oriented science.

Agenda, recordings and other materials

Date and timeProgramme
DAY 1Missions for Science for Global Sustainability
Nick Ishmael-Perkins, Master of ceremonies, Senior Consultant, International Science Council
14:30 – 14:40Introduction and Welcome to the Second Global Forum of Funders
Peter Gluckman, President-elect, International Science Council
▶️Watch
14:40 – 14:50Goals of the Meeting
Heide Hackmann, CEO, International Science Council
Download the slides
14:50 – 16:00Accelerating the Science Impact for the 2030 Agenda
Keynotes:
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Mary Robinson, ISC Patron and the Chair of The Elders
Watch

Panel discussion
Heide Hackmann, CEO, International Science Council
Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission
Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Chief Executive Officer, National Research Foundation of South Africa
Ingrid Petersson, Director General of Formas, Swedish Research Council
Luiz Eugênio Mello, Scientific Director, FAPESP, Brazil
16:00 – 16:15Break: live piano music by Christoph Spangenberg
16:15 – 17:15Key Recommendations: A Framework to Unleash Mission-Oriented Science

Susanne C. Moser, ISC Strategic Advisor on Transformations to Sustainability
Albert van Jaarsveld, IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer
Download the slides (presented by Suscanne C. Moser and Albert van Jaarsveld)

Alison Meston, Communications Director, International Science Council
Asun Lera St.Clair, Senior Advisor for Barcelona SuperComputing Center and member of the European Commission Mission Board for Climate Change Adaptation and Societal Transformation
Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban Policy, Director, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town
17:15 – 17:30Break: live piano music by Christoph Spangenberg
17:30 – 18:30Reaction of Science Funders to the recommendations

Albert van Jaarsveld, IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer
Julie Shouldice, Vice-President, Strategy, Regions, and Policy, International Development Research Centre
Daniel Goroff, Vice President and Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland
Vitoria Langa de Jesus, Executive Director, National Research Fund (FNI), Mozambique
Yukihiro Imanari, Programme Advisor, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Japan
18:30 – 18:45Wrap Up Day One

Mathieu Denis, Science Director, International Science Council
DAY 2Strategies and mechanisms for accelerating collaboration between science funders to support mission-oriented science globally

Alison Meston, Master of ceremonies, Communications Director, International Science Council
15:00 – 15:05Welcome

Maggie Gorman Vélez, Director, Policy and Evaluation, International Development Research Centre, Canada
15:05 – 16:15Supporting mission-oriented science for global sustainability: what does it mean in practice?
Keynote followed by the panel discussion and Q&A

Drew Leyburne, Keynote, Vice Chair, the Mission Innovation Steering Committee
Download the slides

Aldo Stroebel, Moderator, Executive Director Strategic Partnerships, National Research Foundation of South Africa
Li Jinghai, President, National Natural Science Foundation of China, China
Diane Matar, Fellow, the Science Philanthropy Alliance
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Marc Schiltz, Chief Executive Officer, Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)
Wendy Broadgate, Global Hub Director, Future Earth, Sweden
16:15 – 16:30Break: live piano music by Christoph Spangenberg
16:30 – 17:30Aligning Science and Science Funding for Global Sustainability
Keynote followed by the panel discussion and Q&A

Joanna Chataway, Keynote, Head of Department at UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (University College London)
Download the slides

Tom Kariuki, Keynote, Director of Programmes, The African Academy of Sciences
Download the slides

Vidushi S. Neergheen, Keynote, Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR), University of Mauritius
Download the slides
Watch the recording

Nick Ishmael-Perkins, Moderator,Senior Consultant, International Science Council
Kedest Tesfagiorgis, Deputy Director, Global Health, Global Partnerships and Grand Challenges,
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of Research Cooperation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Marcus Wilms, International Affairs, Africa, Near and Middle East, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG),
German Research Foundation
17:30 – 18:00High-level summary of Day 2

Maria Uhle, Co-Chair, Belmont Forum
Albert van Jaarsveld, IIASA Director General and, Chief Executive Officer
Download the slides
DAY 3Building funding alliances for science for sustainability
Nick Ishmael-Perkins, Master of ceremonies, Senior Consultant, International Science Council
15:00 – 15:05Welcome
Wendy Broadgate, Global Hub Director, Future Earth, Sweden
15:05 – 16:15Examples of collaborative initiatives, running in parallel

1. Accelerating Open Science globally

Geoffrey Boulton, Keynote, Chair of the ISC project on the Future of Scientific Publishing and member of the ISC Governing Board
Download the slides

Khotso Mokhele, Moderator, Chair of the Advisory Council of the African Open Science Platform
Kostas Glinos, Director, Open Data Policy & Strategy, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission
Oktawia Wójcik, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Open Research Funders Group
Robert Kiley, Plan S and cOAlition S, the Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust
Suchith Anand, Chief Scientist, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition

2. SDG pilot initiative of the Global Research Council

Aldo Stroebel, Introduction to the SDG pilot initiative, Executive Director Strategic Partnerships, National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa
Download the slides

Kristin Danielsen, Executive Director, The Research Council of Norway
Download the slides

Ingrid Petersson, Director General of Formas, Swedish Research Council
Luiz Eugênio Mello, Scientific Director, FAPESP, Brazil

3. Climate Adaptation Research Alliance
Download the slides

Rosalind West, Welcome, UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and ARA co-chair
Debra Roberts, High-level statement, Co-chair, IPCC WGII
Anand Patwardhan, Introduction to the ARA initiative, University of Maryland and ARA co-chair
Bruce Currie-Alder, Moderator, Canada’s International Development Research Centre
Ying Wang, World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP) Coordinator, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi
Jean Ometto, Global Climate Change Programme, The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
Maria Uhle, Program Director for International Activities, US NSF
Laura Birx, Deputy Director for Strategy and Planning, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
16:15 – 16:30Break: live piano music by Christoph Spangenberg
16:3 – 17:15Taking Missions for Science forward: conclusions and looking ahead
Heide Hackmann, CEO, International Science Council
Download the slides

Background

Humanity has become the major force in shaping the future of our Earth systems. The speed, scale and interconnectedness of human activities on Earth has brought new vulnerabilities – from escalating climate change and loss of biological diversity, to the growing inequalities of human societies laid bare by the global pandemic.

Today, humanity is at a crossroads and the choice is stark. Either we continue our “business as usual” practices, with potentially severe consequences for all life on Earth or we collectively transition towards a more sustainable, resilient and just future. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of accelerating societal transformations towards sustainability to prevent similar future threats and create a more resilient society in the long run.

In today’s highly uncertain world, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an invaluable framework to guide governments and societies in shaping a transformative and resilient recovery from COVID-19. Achieving the transformative vision of the SDGs by 2030 requires an urgent realignment of most countries’ and actors’ priorities and resources towards longer-term, more collaborative, and drastically accelerated action. It also requires game-changing collective action within funding and science systems globally, in order to maximize the contribution of science towards the implementation of the SDGs.

The ambition to scale up efforts by funding communities supporting science for the SDGs was the strategic goal of the 2nd Global Forum of Funders.

Science is recognized as a critical lever in achieving the SDGs. It is at the forefront of providing solutions by creating actionable knowledge and informing policies and practices that support the attainment of the SDGs. Unlocking the full potential of science for advancing sustainable development in the next decade requires a system change in the way science is conducted, harnessed, assessed, and funded.

Advancing open and collaborative science; promoting mission-driven, high-impact and transdisciplinary knowledge creation; revision of existing incentives and reward systems; building capacities for dealing with complexity, uncertainty, and values; developing robust scientific capacities in all parts of the world; and securing sustainable investments in science, will be key for science to effectively support wider societal transformations in the 21st century.

Securing such developments is a systemic responsibility, shared by scientists themselves, the institutions in which they work, the policy makers that shape the conditions under which they work, and science funders that influence the direction of science and its practices.

Collectively, we must empower science to advance the SDGs and there is no time to spare!

About the Global Forum of Funders

The 2nd Global Forum of Funders builds on a successful first event held in Washington DC in 2019, where science funders and the research community initiated a “Decade of Global Sustainability Science Action”. The event called for the identification of critical priorities for science that will support and enable societies to accomplish the SDGs by 2030. In 2020 the ISC mobilized the global scientific community to shape a priority action agenda for science. This strategic agenda, Missions for Science to Enable a Prosperous Future for All, will be presented and discussed with the heads of some of the world’s primary science funders at the Forum.
The Global Forum of Funders is organized by the International Science Council with a consortium of public science funders, donor aid agencies, and international scientific partners, including:

  • Belmont Forum (represented by the US National Science Foundation)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (represented by the National Research Foundation of South Africa)
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • Future Earth
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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