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


The Future Earth (www.futureearth.org) Governing Council solicits offers to host Future Earth Global Secretariat Hubs. Future Earth wishes to expand its Global Hubs model around the world for greater impact and invites new countries and regions to join the Future Earth Secretariat. 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, Global Secretariat Hubs will work with the Future Earth Global Coordination Hub and the Executive Director to support integrative, holistic and synergistic activities, including outreach and liaison capacity across the Future Earth network and beyond, strengthening of science-policy interfaces and management of the Secretariat’s core functions: Facilitating Research and Innovation; Coordination and Operations/Finance; Supporting Networks and Regions; and 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, 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.
  • Provide a platform for communicating and facilitating access to integrated scientific knowledge.


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 a Future Earth Global Secretariat Hub, and to provide essential information on their potential contributions, as well as any constraints. Global Secretariat Hubs are 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 Secretariat 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 inFuture 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 Secretariat Hubs:

Future Earth Global Secretariat Hubs constitute the distributed Future Earth Secretariat. The 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 Secretariat Hubs and the Global Secretariat Coordinating Hub commit to supporting the global work of Future Earth, and to adhering to the mission, strategic objectives and values of Future Earth

The primary purpose of the Global Secretariat Hubs is to support the work of Future Earth at the global and regional level. Hubs may also promote, coordinate and advance Future Earth work within their country or region. For a full list of Global Secretariat Hub responsibilities, see  the Future Earth Global Secretariat Hub Office ToR HERE.

Global Secretariat Hubs work closely with a Future Earth Global Coordination Hub which is also part of the Secretariat and hosts the Future Earth Executive Director. The Global Coordination Hub is responsible for the core functions of Future Earth, such as managing the Core Fund and supporting the governance structures (Future Earth Assembly, Future Earth Governing Council). Institutions that respond to this call for expressions of interest to host a Global Secretariat Hub can also respond to the call for expressions of interest to host the Global Coordination Hub, 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 make a solid contribution to core global functions of the Future Earth Secretariat, such as supporting integrative, synthetic activities across Future Earth entities.
  • Ability to make a financial (cash) contribution, aligned with the global objectives of Future Earth, to the Future Earth Core Fund (1). This contribution takes the form of a fixed annual contribution  aligned with the host country’s capacity and resources (2) (scale under development). 
  • Minimum staffing of a full-time Global Secretariat Hub Director and one full-time staff (FTE equivalent). The Director should be appointed - and their priorities set - in collaboration with Future Earth Directors Council and Governing Council. 
  • Experience in managing large-scale, international and multi-stakeholder research networks.
  • 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 national-level communications activities and liaise with the Global Communications team on major launches/events/campaigns.
  • Ability to attract excellent candidates for Global Secretariat Hub Director.
  • Adequate office space and resources.
  • Commitment to act as ambassadors for Future Earth entities, including seeking support for activities or functions such as Global Research Network International Project Offices.
  • Demonstrated commitment of funders and hosting institutions (letters of support).

For the application review criteria, see HERE.

For further information, please email contact@futureearth.org


(1) The Core Fund is managed by the Global Secretariat Coordinating Hub with the aim to support key global operations and transversal functions of the Secretariat; provide core funding to the Global Research Networks (GRN, the current GRPs and KANs) in the form of a fixed annual contribution (“block grant”) in non-earmarked funding per GRN as well as  funds to incentivize collaboration among existing global programs (GRPs and KANs) and new partners; and strengthen Future Earth’s participation in global science-policy-practice interface processes. 
A Core Fund with a minimum of EUR 500K per annum is deemed necessary to secure support for the key global functions and GRNs (100K for global functions and 400K for GRNs). A smaller fund requires prioritization of activities, a larger fund enables Future Earth to increase its activities, initiatives and impact. The Core Fund is supported by annual contributions from each Global Secretariat Hub. In-kind contributions are also possible but will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The Global Coordination Hub will deliver an annual audit of the Core Fund to the Governing Council.

(2) In the case of a number of countries in a region submitting a joint bid, funders will be making a cumulated contribution to the core fund, aligned with each country's capacity and resources.

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