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Call for Expressions of Interest to Host the Future Earth Global Coordination Hub


Future Earth (www.futureearth.org) Governing Council solicits offers to host the Future Earth Global Coordination Hub. This call aligns with a broader transition process of Future Earth, following an external review, and is aimed at increasing the effectiveness, accessibility and reach of this dynamic global network. In the Future Earth Secretariat, the Global Coordination Hub will function as the central coordinating body, and it will work with a growing network of independent Global Secretariat Hubs to support a plethora of  integrative, holistic and synergistic activities, as well as the Secretariat’s core functions: Facilitating Research and Innovation; Coordination and Operations/Finance; Supporting Networks and Regions; Communications and Engagement.

About Future Earth

Future Earth is a global initiative focused on advancing sustainability science. Announced in June 2012 at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Future Earth builds on more than three decades of international global change research. Operational since 2015, Future Earth now has structures in over 20 countries, currently managed through an internationally distributed Secretariat with five Global Hubs located in Canada, France, Japan, Sweden and the US. Future Earth’s network of global research projects collectively mobilizes roughly 30 000 experts around the world. Future Earth currently is sponsored by the following institutions: International Science Council (ISC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations University (UNU), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Science and Technology in Society forum (STS forum) and the Belmont Forum funding institutions. 
The strategic objectives of Future Earth are to:

  • Champion and promote rigorous and relevant knowledge on global sustainability challenges by determining critical knowledge needs, offering an international science program for transdisciplinary research and collaboration on global sustainability science, and developing pathways, scenarios, and additional innovative methods for the production and synthesis of ongoing international research.
  • Ensure the development and growth of transdisciplinary research approaches that systematically integrate natural, social, and technical sciences, as well as scholarship from the humanities, and connect this work with needs, insights, and innovation within other sectors of society to develop systems-oriented perspectives, products, platforms, methods, and tools that support sustainability pathways.
  • Support evidence-informed decision making on transformations to global sustainability through effective communication and engagement with relevant decision makers and societal actors at the science-policy-practice interface, throughout the whole cycle of knowledge generation from problem definition to responsible practitioners/actors at scale, i.e. along the whole value chain of knowledge and knowledge products.
  • Strengthen global sustainability science by expanding the community, increasing its connectivity, building its essential capacities, improving the conditions for conducting transdisciplinary and impact-oriented research, and developing clear methodologies of transdisciplinary sciences.
  • Communicate knowledge that is accessible to the broader community


The call for expressions of interest invites potential host institutions and partners to indicate their interest in investing the effort and resources required to host the Future Earth Global Coordination Hub, and to provide essential information on their potential contributions, as well as any constraints. The Global Coordination Hub is free to establish consortium funding models involving multiple revenue sources and spanning multiple countries in a region. The Future Earth Governing Council recognizes that expressions of interest are not binding.

Direct benefits for host institutions
Hosting a Future Earth Global Coordinating Hub will offer:

  • Opportunity to shape the direction of sustainability research globally for years to come
  • Access to a wide and influential network of organisations and institutions advancing and conducting sustainability research
  • Increased national and international visibility, connectivity, and impact for the sustainability science community within the country / region 
  • Opportunity to easily leverage domestic research investment and demonstrate leadership in sustainability science
  • Direct reciprocal access to Future Earth global resources (structures, platforms, partner networks, communications, knowledge and expertise) and programs
  • An executive seat in Future Earth Directors Council, integration with global secretariat staff, as well as representation in the Future Earth governance
  • Capacity to shape Future Earth’s collective input into national, regional and global sustainability science-policy platforms and processes (including UNEA, HLPF, UNFCCC, CBD, IPBES, IPCC, etc.)
  • Better access to national and international public and private funding, leveraged through integration into an international program

Role and responsibilities of Future Earth Global Coordination Hub:

The Future Earth Global Coordination Hub and Global Secretariat Hubs constitute the distributed Future Earth Secretariat. The Global Coordination Hub and the Global Secretariat Hubs work together as a single unit to deliver the core functions of the Future Earth Secretariat (Facilitating Research and Innovation; Coordination and Operations/Finance; Supporting Networks and Regions; Communications and Engagement). The funding and hosting institutions of the Global Coordination Hub and the Global Secretariat Hubs commit to supporting the global work of Future Earth, and to adhering to the mission, objectives and values of Future Earth.

The Global Coordination Hub, which also houses the Future Earth Executive Director, oversees and coordinates the main integrative, holistic and synergistic functions and transversal activities of the Future Earth Secretariat, conducted by the Global Secretariat Hubs, and manages the Future Earth finances. This coordination and oversight role of the Global Coordination Hub makes it fundamentally different from the Global Secretariat Hubs that can also engage nationally and regionally and run their own programs. The Global Coordination Hub operates exclusively at the global level, with a set of specific functions that should include:

  • Executive representation of Future Earth through the Executive Director
  • Management and support of the Future Earth governance (Assembly and the Governing Council)
  • Management of Future Earth common resources (Future Earth “Core Fund”), including preparing an annual audit to the Governing Council
  • Leading strategy development, network oversight, and monitoring and evaluation of Future Earth’s global programs
  • Leading of fundraising efforts and management of partnerships
  • Leading of global communications (internal and external)
  • Overall coordination of the distributed Secretariat activities, including management of the Directors Council and coordinating meetings of the organization’s governing bodies
  • Overview of the Secretariat finances for strategic planning and reporting

For additional information, please see the Future Earth Global Coordination Hub ToR HERE.


Institutions submitting an Expression of Interest should describe in their application how they meet the following criteria: 

  • Strong alignment with Future Earth’s mission and objectives.
  • Ability to effectively manage the core global coordination and support functions of the Future Earth Secretariat.
  • Abilities to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, including funders
  • Ability to easily and transparently receive, process, and transfer international funds
  • Minimum staffing of a full-time Executive Director and five full-time staff (FTE equivalent), and ability to attract excellent candidates for the Executive Director Position, as well as for the staff positions. The Director will be appointed - and their priorities set - in collaboration with Future Earth Executive Team and Governing Council 
  • Experience in managing large-scale, international and/or multi-stakeholder research networks, including accounting and auditing
  • Capacity to engage with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g., academia, funders, governments, international organisations, and civil society) both nationally and internationally.
  • Capacity to manage global-level communications activities
  • Adequate office space and resources
  • Commitment to act as ambassadors and representatives for Future Earth
  • Demonstrated commitment of funders and hosting institutions (letters of support)

The Global Coordination Hub receives limited support for its activities from the Future Earth Core Fund, to which all Future Earth Global Secretariat Hubs contribute. Staff salaries and basic operating expenses (office rent etc.) are to be covered by the host organization(s) and funders.

For the application review criteria, see HERE.

Application process:

The call will remain open until a suitable applicant has been found. The reviews will start May 1, 2021.  The Global Coordination Hub will be selected through an open bidding and review process. Applications are reviewed by an impartial review committee (for more information about the review committee and review process, please see the Global Coordination Hub ToR). The application and review process will be iterative and will include an interview / Q+A meeting of the applicants with the review committee.

For further information about this call, please contact Veera Mitzner (veera.mitzner@futureearth.org)

Go to futureearth.org >