Joseph Lewis & Ethny Childs
18 January 2024

Future of ES23: Horizon scanning & foresight project wrap-up

Earth as a tree with overlaid text: "Transforming the planet: Future of ES23 project wrap-up"

Throughout 2023, the IES ran a horizon scanning and foresight project, Future of ES23, which brought the environmental science community together to outline a pathway for achieving a positive future for people and the planet. In November 2023, that project concluded with the launch of 'Transforming the planet: Our vision for the future of environmental science', which serves as the culminating report for the project. 

To support evidence-informed decision making and transparent science, the IES is concluding the Future of ES23 project with an overview of key evidence and project contributions, allowing the environmental science community a more granular look at the full body of work involved in the Future of ES23 project.

Review key events and articles by theme:

The work of the project was coordinated across six themes, which were used as a nexus for discussions and as an opportunity to facilitate collaboration across the sector. This section provides links to key events, articles, and publications linked to each of those themes. Further evidence was contributed through events, focus groups, and meetings, as well as the broader body of knowledge available across the environment sector.

Review key events and article by chapter:

Transforming the planet sets out a vision of a future where environmental scientists are knowledgeable, skilled, diverse, and trusted, in which their role is to help people to solve environmental challenges and co-create a sustainable society where people and nature thrive.

The evidence supporting that vision is coordinated across ten core chapters, each of which has detailed analysis and recommendations which summarise the key messages from the project. This section provides links to key events, articles, and publications which were used in the production of those chapters. Each has been listed with the most relevant chapter, though naturally most of the events and articles contributed towards shaping multiple chapters and the broader project work.

What next?

Having produced its vision for the future of environmental science, the Institution will continue working with members and partners to prepare the sector to achieve a better future. It will inform the Institution’s next organisational strategy in 2024, as well as our approach to developing the skills and competencies of IES members through training, events, and communities.

The final message of the project is clear: humanity has reason to be optimistic about the future, as long as it takes the actions necessary to achieve that future.