Towards a Sustainable Earth: Environment-human systems and the UN Global Goals

Sustainable Development Goals 17 icons poster

The nature of the 21st century UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires a shift in thinking and action that will better prepare us for the future, while enabling more effective development interventions today.

Our goal is to fund research for sustainable, resilient human development, and mobilise resources and actions to support it. Funded research should aim to significantly improve our understanding of the complex interactions between people and the environment required to make progress in achieving the SDGs.

Announcement of Opportunity: Towards a Sustainable Earth - Human-Environment Interactions & the Sustainable Development Goals

Closing date: 14 Aug

14 Jun 2018

The funding partners in TaSE invite proposals to this first call under the TaSE initiative, which aims to significantly improve our understanding of the complex interactions between people and the environment required to make progress in achieving the United Nations Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals).

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In 2015, a collection of global goals (the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) were established by the UN General Assembly to transform our world by 2030. In response, NERC, the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Rockefeller Foundation commissioned a report by the University of Sussex and the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) to understand the environment-human interactions underpinning the individual SDGs.

The 2017 report, Global Goals Mapping: The Environment-human Landscape, became the foundation for the Towards a Sustainable Earth (TaSE) funding call, with the aim of placing human-environment interactions at the heart of achieving the SDGs.

Global Goals Mapping: The Environment-human Landscape (PDF, 3MB)

The first Towards a Sustainable Earth (TaSE) call in August 2018 was a collaboration between the following international agencies:

Our goals are set out in the statement of intent document below.

TaSE statement of intent (PDF, 237KB)


2018 onwards

Can I apply for a grant?

There are no current calls.


The budget information will be different for each call. Please see the details on the specific call.

Programme awards

TaSE award details are shown in our live online grants browser - Grants on the Web (GOTW).

View live details of TaSE awards - external link

The initiative is advised by a steering committee made up individuals from public, private and third sector organisations representing the wider policy, research and innovation communities. These members sit alongside representatives from the research funding partners to offer independent opinion and input on the direction of the initiative.

The steering committee members will use their own experience and networks to inform, validate and constructively challenge the development of the initiative. In doing so they commit to the seven principles of public life (the Nolan principles) and act as 'generous generalists' - not advocating just for their own areas of interest but with a broad view. Finally they have the ability to endorse the initiative and its outcomes.

Steering Committee membership

Membership will change over time, these lists will be updated periodically but changes may not be reflected immediately.

Funders' representatives are:

  • Professor Liu Congqiang - President, National Natural Science Foundation China
  • Shailja Gupta - Director International cooperation, Department of Biotechnology India
  • Professor Tony McEnery - Director of Research, ESRC
  • Dr Rajiv Shah - President, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Yoshiko Shirokizawa - Executive Director, Japan Science & Technology Agency
  • Professor Duncan Wingham - Executive Chair, NERC

Independent members are:

  • Patricia Espinosa - Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
  • Professor Sir Andy Haines - Professor of public health & primary care, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Dr Rebecca Keiser - Head, Office of International Science & Engineering, National Science Foundation
  • Dr Pushpam Kumar - Senior Economic Advisor, UN Environment
  • Professor Dame Georgina Mace - Director, University College London Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research
  • Isayvani Naicker - Director Strategy & Partnerships, African Academy of Science
  • Professor Johan Rockström - Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • Dominic Waughray - Head of Public-Private Partnership, World Economic Forum
  • Peter White - Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, World Bussiness Council for Sustainable Development