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The United Nations (U.N.) Agenda for 2030 identifies climate change, biodiversity, oceans, health, and other sustainable development goals as major challenges in the 21st century. Profound scientific understanding is key to creating the policies and solutions humanity must have for a transition to a sustainable future. However, scientific communities don’t often collaborate to address these challenges. This is especially true of basic life science, which has not been connected to the sustainability discourse, as those conversations have traditionally been the domain of environmental science. To better connect basic life research to climate change and other sustainability challenges, the U.N. General Assembly declared 2022-2023 to be the U.N. International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, (IYBSSD).

In June of 2023, the first international effort to build bridges between basic life science and environmental science communities at academic, policy and funding levels will be hosted with the aim of discussing how basic research in the life sciences can help accelerate the sustainability transition. 

Two events – High-Level Science Summit & International Scientific Symposium

HFSP and its partners will offer two free events in Paris spanning three days from 27-29 June 2023. The umbrella title for the combined events is: “Fundamental Life Science meets Climate, Environment and Sustainability: new bridges, new partnerships, new opportunities.” 

High-level Science Summit: The first event will be held on 27 June 2023 and will be a high-level Science Summit, HFSP’s contribution to the U.N. International Year of Basic Science for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD). The Summit will be held on 27 June 2023 and will draw high level ministerial representatives, science policy leaders, leaders of science funding agencies, and others in the global scientific enterprise addressing the point of how to manage science programs to accelerate and facilitate the sustainability transition.

International Scientific Symposium: The second event will follow on 28 & 29 June 2023 and will be an international Science Symposium featuring scientists from around the world talking about cutting-edge science across the fields of life science, environmental science and sustainability. Scientific papers and posters will be presented, keynote speakers will inspire new ideas, and the symposium will focus on four thematic areas. These include:

  • Climate Change and Health

  • Ocean Biodiversity and Resources at Risk

  • Food Security in a Changing World

  • Individuals, Institutions, and Society – the Need for Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Transformations

How basic science can facilitate the sustainability transition

Basic science remains one of the most creative, untapped wells of knowledge for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Disciplines such as molecular and developmental biology have enormous potential to contribute to helping people advance creative solutions that promote greater sustainability. Researchers in molecular life sciences can contribute to the understanding of the biology of climate change but also scientists in systems and cognitive neuroscience can provide vital knowledge in understanding human and societal behaviour in the transition to a low-carbon society and economy. Unlimited opportunities to tackle the challenges of a sustainable transformation also lie in the convergence between basic life sciences and engineering, which are expected to drive rapid innovation in the next decade. Interdisciplinary approaches are especially important for these purposes, but what is currently missing is a holistic, integrative approach that connects the fragments in a meaningful way to better accelerate sustainable development transitions.

HFSP will partner with other leading organizations to make the fullest possible use of cross-cutting initiatives at the government level and with the global scientific community. The Science Summit will be held with the support of our partners, the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the French National Agence for Research, the French National Council of Scientific Research, the French Academy of Sciences, the Institute Pasteur, the International Science Council, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, UNESCO, and the U.N. International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD). 

The summit will be held at Grand Cupola of the French Academy of Sciences and the symposium will be organized in the Auditorium André et Liliane Bettencourt that is adjacent to the Academy premises in Paris, France. Participation is free of charge and everyone is invited to register to attend, although there are a limited number of seats for the Summit. To submit an abstract for the science symposium and poster session, please consult the Call for Abstracts.


partners event