Apply to Host the 2026 Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress

The Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) is looking for a host of its 6th Congress (SRI2026) to be organized in June 2026. The SRI Congress is the world’s largest annual convening focused on action-forward, knowledge-based and inclusive approaches to sustainability. As a host organization, you work with the co-organizers to shape the vision and program, highlight local and regional priorities, and connect your community with the global sustainability movement.  

SRI is the global crossroads for innovation and action, funding and development, communities and corporations, allowing the host to strengthen their global profile and demonstrate leadership in the rapidly evolving sustainability space. SRI2026 will build on the momentum of Congresses in Australia (2021), South Africa (2022), Panama (2023), Finland (2024), and the United States (2025), connecting both in person and around the world with satellite events and interactive online experiences. Each Congress has attracted over 2500 participants from more than 100 countries, and the initiative is on a strong growth trajectory. SRI is convened by Future Earth and the Belmont Forum.

In addition to showcasing the latest science and innovation, SRI is committed to societally relevant action and moving the needle in sustainability. Together with our host, we will develop a powerful hybrid transdisciplinary and truly global gathering that offers both online and onsite engagement, as well as training and inspiration by leading experts. SRI promotes an ambitious agenda for elevating the sustainability sector globally and embracing new ways of interaction to engage and inspire attendees with a versatile program that in 2023 included nearly 300 activities.

By 2026 we expect the Congress to have grown significantly in size and visibility. We are looking for a host that can help us further elevate the profile of SRI and meet the Congress’ global goals for impact. The host will work with us to build an inspiring vision for SRI2026 and collaboratively deliver the event in alignment with the Congress’ key values: sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility.

Hosts should demonstrate experience in organizing large international convenings and possess the capacity to provide an onsite venue accessible to 3000+ in-person attendees from around the world for a 5-day event, with multiple side meetings during, before and after. As virtual participation will be a key driver of SRI, the hosts are also expected to provide facilities that enable interactive online engagement at scale. Hosts will play a key role in engaging local sponsors and partners and fundraising for the event. In addition, hosts are expected to provide a financial contribution and/or significant in-kind support, e.g. the Congress venue and dedicated staff support.

What are the advantages of hosting SRI?

This Congress will be a timely opportunity to:

  • Showcase the leadership of your nation, region, city, company, or organization in sustainability research and innovation to the world stage
  • Meet and engage in substantial conversations with international donors to leverage your investments in international calls 
  • Exchange with other actors to fine-tune your mechanisms to maximize global impact of research and innovation 
  • Empower your community to build skills, audiences, and support for sustainability-forward action
  • Ensure you have a seat in discussions shaping global research and innovation agendas and global environmental governance processes.

Selection Process

An external review committee will review the applications according to the following selection criteria:

  • Bid capacity: Direct co-funding amount (and/or level of in-kind contribution), degree, experience, and breadth of support staff for the event; Capacity to fundraise and engage local and regional sponsors 
  • Location and venue: Degree to which location represents, or is attractive to a knowledge-to-action sustainability community representing a breadth of sectors and knowledge holders at national, regional or global scales; accessibility for an international audience (proximity to an international airport); distance from the previous SRI Congress location
  • For consortia applications: Breadth of consortia and the contributions of the consortia members to the Congress; Solidity and specificity of the management plan for a globally distributed meeting
  • Community and connection: Capacity to create connections across communities and between sectors (academic, innovation, private sector, public sector, civil society), as well as create synergies between global events and policy processes; Capacity to attract high-level participation and media visibility
  • Event experience and sustainability: Experience in organizing large international events and commitment and capacity to deliver an event that embodies sustainability in all aspects; Alignment with the SRI vision and core values of sustainability, inclusivity and accessibility

Expressions of interest will be accepted until April 15, 2024, wherafter select applicants will be invited to submit a full application. All finalists will also be invited to a virtual meeting with the SRI Conveners. The winners of this competition will be announced in Q3 of 2024. For questions, please contact Veera Mitzner, SRI Director, at veera.mitzner@futureearth.org.

Proposals led by commercial meeting organizers will not be considered.