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Date and Location

November 30, 2020
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM ET


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The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene a virtual public workshop on Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities for Sustainability Science. The workshop will be held on November 30, December 1, and December 2, 2020 (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) from around 8:00 am to 1:00 pm EST (North American Eastern Standard Time / UTC-5).  Register on the project website for link to the workshop plus a list of speakers and an agenda.


The workshop will review the state of cutting edge research that can help societies meet the goals of sustainable development, and provide scientific input to the ongoing discussions of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Grand Challenges in Science initiatives and the Nobel Prize Summit “Our Planet, Our Future” that will be held in the spring of 2021.


The workshop has been designed by a Steering Committee of the following NAS members:  Pamela Matson (co-chair), Bill Clark (co-chair), Arun Agrawal, Partha Dasgupta, Ruth DeFries, Carl Folke, Robert O. Keohane, Diana Liverman, and Stephen Polasky.  It is structured around six themes that research has shown to be important in the pursuit of sustainability: (1) measuring progress toward sustainable development; (2) promoting equity and justice in sustainability efforts; (3) adapting to shocks and surprise; (4) fostering innovation for transformational change; (5) linking knowledge with action; and (6) managing and governing complex nature-society systems.   Each theme will be addressed in a panel featuring presentations by, and discussions among, a half-dozen or so leading scholars from around the world.   The panels will build upon the following background readings for the workshop: 

     * Clark, William C., and Alicia G. Harley. 2020. “Sustainability Science: Toward a Synthesis.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 45 (1): 331–86. (Open Access).

      * Folke, Carl, Stephen R. Carpenter, I. I. I. Chapin, Owen Gaffney, Victor Galaz, Holger Hoffmann, Michèle Lamont, et al. 2020. “Our Future in the Anthropocene Biosphere: Global Sustainability and Resilient Societies.” Beijer Discussion Paper Series 272. Stockholm, Sweden: Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. (Open Access).



Speakers and Presenters

​Co-chairs: Prof. William Clark (Harvard) and Pamela Matson (Stanford)