Vacancy: Future Earth Executive Director

Future Earth, the international research programme for global sustainability, is recruiting an Executive Director, starting as soon as possible.

Deadline for applications: 3rd February 2017

Future Earth is a major international research programme for global sustainability. It provides international facilitation and coordination of research around the greatest challenges facing humanity – and engages policy, business and the public in exploring ways to address these challenges.

Future Earth’s work stretches from climate change and biodiversity, to human health and transformation of societies. It works with many of the world’s leading experts on global grand challenges. The Future Earth Global Secretariat is distributed across five hubs located in Colorado, Montreal, Paris, Stockholm and Tokyo.

The context

Future Earth has completed its two-year start-up phase with the creation of Science and Engagement Committees, five global hubs for Secretariats, four regional centres and a media lab, under the leadership of the Governing Council. Over 20 global research projects are now part of Future Earth. Three regional offices, two in Africa and one in South Asia are emerging and national committees are expanding internationally.

It is now moving into full operational mode with the phased launch of a suite of Knowledge-Action Networks, capacity building programmes, and partnerships with key stakeholders. Central to Future Earth’s work is to connect research to support the implementation of international agreements such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development/the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The role

We are looking for an outstanding Executive Director to provide strong leadership and guide the implementation of Future Earth’s broad and ambitious vision and scientific strategy. The successful candidate will be effective in further raising the visibility and value of Future Earth, and attracting funding for this implementation.

Future Earth is made up of multiple networks, projects and programmes involving scientists from many disciplines working voluntarily towards the goals of Future Earth. The successful candidate will be a team player with excellent diplomacy skills who can bring these disciplines and cultures together in an environment of mutual respect and trust.

An important characteristic of the successful candidate will be his or her ability to strike a balance between accountability towards these multiple stakeholders and dedication to building a delivery-oriented environment for the hub directors and their teams by developing an agile, responsive work culture that fosters continuous learning and improvement.



Reporting and Support


Future Earth’s Governing Council members are the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Belmont Forum of funding agencies, 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 Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum and the consortium of Secretariat Global Hub funders.

Application procedure

Applicants are requested to submit a curriculum vitae together with a cover letter describing their vision for Future Earth, the challenges and opportunities they foresee, and how their skills and experience would help them meet the requirements of the role. Please also include the name and contact details of three referees and details of current salary. Applications (preferably in one combined PDF file), should be sent via email with ‘Future Earth Executive Director’ in the subject line to The closing date for applications is 3rd February 2017, midnight CET.

For more information on Future Earth, please see the Future Earth website,