Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth (RESCUE)

TIAS-RESCUE webinar series


Two Webinars are organized by The Integrated Assessment Society and the ESF-COST foresight initiative "Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth" (RESCUE).

Over the past 2 years, the RESCUE foresight initiative ( aimed to help Europe address the societal and scientific challenges related to global environmental change. In RESCUE, the focus of attention was on people and the goal was to stimulate an integrated, innovative response from natural, social and human sciences. 
The Webinars will present insights gained and steps for action identified in the RESCUE initiative, discuss implications and offer opportunities to develop partnership for collaborative action.

For more details, visit the Webinar page

The RESCUE initiative has now come to a conclusion. 

The RESCUE Synthesis Report is now available here for download or postal sending.

A few video interviews made at the time of the RESCUE Synthesis Report launch event / press event are available below.

A few pictures from this event are available here



The RESCUE Synthesis Report has been officially presented during the RESCUE Launch / Press Event on Thursday 16th February 2012, morning, in the International Press Centre, Brussels (BE).

This RESCUE Synthesis Report Launch Event concludes our main activities, and made it possible for the RESCUE community to present their key findings to a range of actors and stakeholders, such as:

  • high-level representatives from research funding and performing organisations;
  • science policy makers at national, European and global levels;
  • research managers representing key science communities and initiatives;
  • representatives from academia and NGOs; and
  • researchers, practitioners and educators, in Europe and beyond.

Here is the announcement flyer for this event.

The RESCUE report was also prepared in close cooperation or liaison with other key organisations or initiatives, including the International Council of Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA) and its Belmont Forum, and the European Alliance of Global Change Research Committees (EA-GCR).

Overall, this RESCUE foresight initiative aimed to contribute also to the current international efforts preparing transitions toward sustainability, among which emerge especially the ‘Planet under Pressure - New Knowledge Towards Solutions’ Conference (PuP, March 2012), the ‘Rio+20’ United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, June 2012) and the 'Future Earth - research for global sustainability' initiative, newly established by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and a global alliance of partners. This new 10-year international collaborative initiative will aim to effectively deliver solution-oriented research on global environmental change for sustainability and to provide global coordination for science to respond to the most pressing societal and environmental challenges. This new endeavour echoes markedly some of the findings and conclusions of RESCUE regarding the global change research agenda setting.

Should you be interested in RESCUE, please contact us at fl-rescue[at]




The "RESCUE briefing for stakeholders" has been updated after this Stakeholders Conference (19/12/2011).


The RESCUE Stakeholders Conference has been held on 16-17 May 2011, in the International Auditorium, Brussels (BE).

This Forward Look is a joint COST-ESF "Frontiers of Science" foresight initiative that involves the ESF Standing Committees for Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences (LEE (formerly LESC)), for Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)), for Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) and for Physical and Engineering Sciences (PEN (formerly PESC)), and the COST Domain Committees for Earth System Science and Environmental Management (ESSEM), for Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH), for Forests, their Products and Services (FPS) and for Food and Agriculture (FA).


Humankind is currently facing unprecedented changes in the Earth system, that have arisen at a rapidly growing rate because of human activities: among others, unsustainable exploitation and consumption of natural resources and accelerating perturbations of the environment. The systemic understanding of global environmental change has expanded markedly, but societal and policy-relevant drivers and consequences are still to be fully explored. In particular, the complex Earth system requires interdisciplinary studies at scales compatible to political and societal agendas, and some stronger common, integrated foundations between natural, social and human sciences to be established.

In this context, the “Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth” (RESCUE) foresight initiative help address the societal and scientific challenges related to global environmental change, including its human dimensions, and help stimulating an integrated response from natural, social and human sciences. This will be achieved through the following key objectives:

  1. To propose a strategic process for natural, social and human sciences to improve their interdisciplinary synergy, to respond efficiently to societal and policy-relevant needs; 
  2. To articulate new scientific issues related to global change, especially those of transdisciplinary nature or of major society-driven relevance; 
  3. To explore new approaches towards interdisciplinary science, and to facilitate the ‘revolution’ in education and capacity building it requires.

Through its analyses and recommendations, RESCUE will help enable the scientific community, together with other actors and key stakeholders, to develop medium to long-term strategies for future research activities and applications. It is anticipated that RESCUE will impact society by favouring common strategic understanding and coordination, and transformative education delivery, to help ensuring global sustainable development and sustainability governance.

Relationships between Humanity, its Environment and the Earth, considered as interlinked parts of the Earth System.