2025 Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress to be held in Chicago

The fifth Sustainability Research & Innovation (SRI) Congress (SRI2025) will be held in Chicago in 2025, marking its first convening in the United States. The University of Illinois System is the host institution and co-organizer. SRI2025 was announced at an event in Chicago on Tuesday, 31 October.

SRI is the world’s largest annual gathering focused on action-forward, knowledge-based and inclusive approaches to sustainability. The five-day event will build upon the momentum from the four preceding SRI Congresses in Australia, South Africa, Panama, and Finland.

“The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress brings a global focus to the challenge of addressing the most important issues of our time,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “SRI 2025 will convene people committed to sustainability, from experts to community activists, from all over the world. Together, they will explore innovative and implementable solutions that will lead to better outcomes for our children and grandchildren. The U of I System’s history as a leader makes us the perfect host for such a forum.”

University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen speaks at a press conference at the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago, Tuesday, October 31, 2023. (Photo courtesy the University of Illinois)

Tentatively scheduled for June 2025, the SRI Congress will include in-person and remote participants.

“The state of Illinois is leading the way and taking strong, decisive action to address the impacts of climate change and advance sustainability,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said. “The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress is a prime example of bringing together experts in a spectrum of disciplines to address these critically important topics. Chicago is the perfect location for this gathering, and I applaud the institutions that worked together to make it a reality.”

SRI 2025 will spotlight Pathways to Sustainability, sharing implementation strategies and legacies of successful approaches to critical sustainability concerns facing Chicago, the region, the nation and the globe. It will also provide opportunities to overcome engagement, policy, resourcing and other hurdles that slow the transformation to sustainable futures.

“We live in the greatest city in the world, which makes our hosting of the 2025 SRI Congress a natural fit,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “Chicago offers world-class amenities and a surplus of cultural and academic resources, but most importantly, our residents, community advocates and city leaders have a keen awareness of the need to address environmental racism and build an innovative and sustainable city.”


“As a city, we are striving for environmental justice and sustainable solutions for communities that are bearing the brunt of disinvestment and pollution,” Johnson said. “We are thrilled to host the 2025 SRI Congress, which will put Chicago at the center of finding equitable solutions to the many challenges ahead.”

Future Earth US Global Hub Director Erica Key speaks virtually at a press conference at the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago, Tuesday, October 31, 2023. (Photo courtesy the University of Illinois)

“It is an honor for Chicago and Cook County to host the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress in 2025, marking the first time this prestigious event comes to the United States,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “In 2025, we will not only welcome the world to our great city and county, but we will also welcome the opportunity to drive positive change and inspire others to join us in this crucial mission. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable and resilient future for all.”

The SRI Congress series is co-convened by the Belmont Forum, an international funding platform addressing the world’s most pressing environmental change issues, and Future Earth, a global constellation of researchers and practitioners supporting informed transformations to sustainability.

SRI has rapidly emerged as a leading global platform for the advancement of evidence-informed action in sustainability, and the dynamic international city of Chicago – rich in innovation, diversity and vision – offers a perfect environment for that ambition, said the SRI Congress international team comprised of Erica Key, Director of the Future Earth US Global Hub and the co-founder of the Congress series; Nicole Arbour, Executive Director of the Belmont Forum; and Veera Mitzner, Associate director of the Future Earth US Global Hub and the SRI Director.

Making its first foray to Europe, the 2024 SRI Congress will occur in Finland from June 10-14. More than 2,000 international sustainability experts and practitioners are expected to take part in the Finland event – both in-person and online.