Early Career Champions Programme: Call for applications

Early Career opportunity: Become an Early Career Champion and speak at the closing plenary of the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2021

Future Earth and the Global Young Academy (GYA) aim to elevate early career voices at the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2021 (SRI2021) through the support of five early career champions in their contribution to the SRI2021 closing plenary. At the SRI2021 closing plenary, the early career champions will speak along with the co-chairs of the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) Independent Group of Scientists. The publications of the GSDR mark milestones in reviewing and evaluating worldwide progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By encouraging and supporting meaningful early career participation in visible roles, we hope to highlight the fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and disciplinary diversity brought to SRI2021 by early-career researchers and professionals.

At the closing plenary session of SRI2021, the co-chairs of the Independent Group of Scientists (IGS) will present their outlook on the 2023 GSDR report and the main challenges and opportunities for science to contribute to transformations to sustainability. Five Early Career Champions will complement these outlooks by reflecting on session insights from the five thematic pillars of SRI2021 and cross-generational insights on the 2019 GSDR. There will also be dedicated time for a panel discussion between IGS members and the Early Career Champions on transformations to sustainability, knowledge to action, pathways beyond 2030, and more. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions during the last ten minutes.

Role of the 5 Early Career Champions

Each Champion is invited to reflect on one theme of the Congress and will be attending relevant sessions. The allocation of congress sessions will be decided in collaboration with the organisers of SRI2021. The Champions will have a visible and active role by bringing young researchers’ perspectives to the scholarly discussions, increasing diversity and innovativeness. At the closing plenary, they will reflect on the  highlights of the five Congress themes and bring forward perspectives on behalf of the early career community.

The Champions will work closely with the SRI2021 Programme Committee to prepare for the final presentations and collaborate with the co-chairs of GSDR to co-design the closing plenary. The Champions are encouraged to use innovative presentation tools.

During and after the Congress, the Champions will have the opportunity to gain visibility (through e.g. public videos, writing blog posts etc.), advance their career (through e.g. potential contribution in the form of papers or statements to the 2023 GSDR, insights into the latest sustainability science discourses), and networking (across generations with all SRI participants).

Commitment of the Champions

Future Earth and the Global Young Academy will cover the registration fees for the five Champions. The Champions will agree with Future Earth and the Global Young Academy on expectations, timelines and deliverables. The Champions will be listed as speakers on the SRI2021 closing plenary.


Early career researchers of all nationalities are welcome to apply. Eligible candidates should have obtained a PhD in a relevant field within the last ten years. They should also be connected to – and be able to represent the voices of – early careers through networks, organizations, or other groupings. We are looking for outstanding individuals with experience in international inter- or transdisciplinary research aligned with at least one of the five SRI2021 themes:

  1. Sustainable solutions from the Global South
  2. Integrated action for the SDGs
  3. Advocating knowledge – to – action
  4. Sustainability for whom?
  5. Resilience

Application process

Interested candidates are invited to fill in the following application form by May 15. The selection process will be carried out in two stages. In the first round, candidates are invited to demonstrate their excellence in the application form, submitting a list of relevant publications, an abbreviated CV and a brief expression of interest outlining how the candidate’s expertise contributes to the Champion role. In case of a second round, short-listed candidates may be asked to record a short video with a brief statement on a selected question. The video will serve as a tool for the candidates to introduce themselves to the selection committee, but it will not be not part of the core selection criteria. We aim to select the five Champions based on the criteria above as well as geographical, disciplinary, and gender balance. The selection committee is formed by members of the SRI organizing team, Future Earth, and Global Young Academy.

Interested applicants should complete the application form by May 15th 2021.

For further questions please contact:
Mrs. Mariela Antonakopoulou mariela.antonakopoulou@futureearth.org or
Mrs. Jennifer Plaul Jennifer.Plaul@globalyoungacademy.net