New Call for Proposals: Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action on Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability

Blog / July 24, 2020

The Belmont Forum is launching a call for proposals for joint Collaborative Research Action on the theme of “Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability” (CRA Pathways).

To help provide a science base for achieving global sustainability, the Belmont Forum and partners including national and international organisations such as Future Earth and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) are supporting 1-2 years of collaborative research networking that focuses on integrated approaches to develop Earth-system-based transformation pathways for sustainable development. The initiative invites its participants to consider all important interactions among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address cross-cutting issues among, at a minimum, three SDGs.

GEO is part of the Belmont Forum CRA Pathways and as such, invites the GEO community to submit proposals to the call which runs from 23 July until 31 October 2020.  Awardee activities are expected to start in early 2021. More information about the call and the submission portal are found on the Belmont Forum Grant Operations website here.

Project proposals must support transdisciplinary networks to innovate solutions and/or synthesize positive and negative inter-linkages between the economy, technology, institutions and the environment, climate, biodiversity, and human well-being. This will support the co-design of sustainable development pathways. Projects should address one or both of the following topics:

  • Topic 1 – Development of networks and communities of practice that address the inter-linkages, synergies, and trade-offs among three or more of the UN SDGs.
  • Topic 2 - Synthesis of positive and negative inter-linkages among three or more sustainable development goals using quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies.

The call will select multinational teams which must be composed of three partner organisations from three different countries, and must bring together natural scientists, social scientists, and stakeholders in addressing the topics outlined.

Awards will foster continued relationships and build novel networks with stakeholders for this CRA. The definition of stakeholder here is exceptionally diverse and is not limited to academics, government agencies, funder and development partners, the private sector, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), traditional authorities (royalty/chiefs), district assemblies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), religious organizations, think tanks, the media, or parliamentary committees.

All proposals will be required to identify at least one project deliverable including but not limited to:

  • synthesis and scaling up place-based project outcomes through consolidation of knowledge on transformation pathways, synergies, and trade-offs among specific SDGs;
  • assessment of local indicators using comparative approaches within or between regions;
  • pathway and scenario development using participatory approaches;
  • interference/coherence assessment and visualization;
  • semantic ontology maps of data sets, archives, web services, and decision-support tools;
  • synthesis of potential methodological approaches for inclusive and integrated pathways;
  • assessment of SDGs interactions across spatial scales;
  • assessment of the applicability and transferability of prioritization guidelines;
  • feasibility studies, stakeholder and project maps across various scales
  • documentation of lessons learned for developing and implementing pathways that involve multiple SDGs;
  • establishment of novel research collaboration networks that bring new perspectives and identify research gaps for future competitive transdisciplinary projects on multiple SDGs.

Project proposals should consider inclusivity in the development of project teams, recognizing the need to reduce inequalities. Projects are encouraged to involve a diversity of perspectives and to include professional development opportunities for early career scientists, practitioners, and underrepresented groups. Proposals will be evaluated according to criteria of (i) scientific excellence, (ii) policy relevance and societal impact (which includes stakeholder engagement), and (iii) quality and efficiency of the project implementation.

A total of 13 funders from multiple countries and international partners have committed in total circa 4M EUR of cash and in-kind resources for this call: FWF (Austria), FAPESP (Brazil), MOST (Chinese Taipei), ANR (France), AllEnvi (France), DFG (Germany), REGIG (Ghana), TUBITAK (Turkey), NRF (South Africa) and NSF (USA). Additionally, through Future Earth participants from any country in Africa, through IAI (Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research) participants from the Americas, and through GEO participants from countries that are GEO members are eligible for this call.

As part of the ongoing resource mobilisation efforts, GEO is offering an in-kind contribution  to the call for those applicants belonging to GEO Members (currently 111 UN Member States). In particular, winning projects will have access to our network, resources, and stakeholders of selected GEO Work Programme activities with the aim to integrate, support, or scale-up the work being undertaken by such GEO activities, including GEO BON, GFOI, GEOGLAM, GEO-LDN, and EO4SDG. The GEO Secretariat will help liaise with the winning projects that qualify for the GEO resources.

Participating organizations include:


Funding Agency Abbr.

Funding Agency

Funding Agency Website



Austrian Science Fund




São Paulo Research Foundation


Chinese Taipei


Ministry of Science and Technology




French National Alliance for Environmental Research




National Research Agency




Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft




Research and Grant Institute of Ghana



Future Earth

Future Earth




Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research




Group on Earth Observations


South Africa


National Research Foundation




The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey


United States


National Science Foundation



Belmont Forum is an international partnership that mobilizes funding for environmental change research, as well as a GEO Participating Organisation. Please see the Belmont Forum website here for more details.



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