Ethny Childs
April 2023

Change on the horizon: Emerging science in land, air and water

Environmental practice must be informed by sound science. This is dependent on emerging science and research being effectively translated into legislation and practice in the environment sector, and for those working in applied environmental science to have a voice in the direction of future research and development. With public trust in science having increased over the course of the pandemic, it is essential that this trust is reinforced and utilised to drive change across scientific disciplines. 

For science to be transformative, it is also important for it to traverse specialisms and inform practice across sectors. Therefore, as part of our Horizon Scanning and Foresight Project Future ES23, we have reached out to members working in the interconnected sectors of land, air and water to provide their views on how emerging science is influencing their work, opportunities for science to promote change, and to highlight key areas of focus in the coming years for their specialism:

The continuum between science and regulation must be strengthened to ensure that practice is aligned with current knowledge and understanding. The feedback loop between science and regulation should also be strengthened, so further research priorities are informed by questions arising from applied science. As we move from the science theme of our Future ES23 project into the regulatory landscape theme, we will examine the relationship further between science and evidence, and decision-making and legislation. Key to this discussion will be exploring how we as environmental scientists can engage with decision-makers to support transition to a sustainable future. 

How can I get involved?

This article is part of our Future of ES23 horizon scanning & foresight project on the future of the environmental sciences. Find out more about the project and how you can get involved

If you want to support the work of the IES to shape the future of the environmental sciences, you can join as an affiliate, or if you’re a professional in the environmental sector working with science, consider becoming a member of the IES.