The work of the earth system governance research community needs to rely largely on public funds from universities, public research institutions, and national and international funding agencies. Existing public funding, however, is often not sufficient to fully fund all research questions that are vital to understanding governance processes and the effects of policies at all levels. Also, policy-driven, solution-oriented research is not always fundable under the major public funding programmes.

What is lacking is, in particular:

Sufficient support for earth system governance scholars from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including for the participation in international conferences;

Support for solution-oriented, policy-driven research that advances out-of-the-box-thinking;

Support for the free-of-charge dissemination of key research findings, including through the build-up of online collections of research papers, policy briefs, and webstream programmes; and

Support for younger scholars in both South and North, among others with small research stipends.

In order to help address these gaps in current research funding, the Earth System Governance Foundation has embarked on an international innovative funding effort to support its research community and help disseminate its research findings: the “Support the Network” initiative.

The Support the Network initiative seeks to channel financial support in particular to four main causes:

Building a Truly Global Research Programme for Global Problems. At present, most research on earth system governance is conducted at institutions in richer countries in the North, with only marginal participation of scholars in particular from Africa. The participation of scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America in international research events, such as the Annual Open Science Meetings of the earth system governance research community, is often unaffordable for Southern research institutions, and travel stipends are, at present, still limited. For this reason, we are now seeking support for a special fund for travel stipends to be granted on a competitive basis to highly qualified scholars who are based in developing countries.

Finding Solutions to Vexing Complex Problems: Supporting Evidence-based Policy Research. Most traditional research funding in the social sciences is restricted to disciplinary scientific research. In particular, evidence-based research on policy reforms, including more innovative “out-of-the-box” thinking, is difficult to obtain from national funding agencies, and often lies outside the normal career paths of young researchers. As a consequence, policy research is often weak, and only based on few studies by private think tanks without professional peer review and embedding in academic structures. For this reason, the Earth System Governance Foundation is seeking support for research and writing grants for teams of researchers who can help develop and critically evaluate novel, innovative and possibly ground-breaking policy proposals to address complex problems of earth system governance.

Disseminating Crucial Research Findings. At present, most research findings are targeted at top-level scholarly journals and books with prestigious university presses. Many of these outlets, however, are available only based on expensive subscriptions, and often are written in an academic style that is not easily accessible to a wider, non-expert community. This disconnect between scientific research and public debate is often seen as a major problem limiting the political effectiveness of earth system governance. For this reason, the Earth System Governance Foundation is seeking support for its global research dissemination programme, with a focus on the online education and dissemination programme Earth System Governance TV, and the newly developed Policy Brief series.

Supporting the Next Generation of Earth System Governance Researchers. National research funding has been decreasing in most countries in recent years. Especially hard hit are early-career scholars, who have difficulties in financing their doctoral and postdoctoral work. For this reason, the Earth System Governance Foundation is seeking support for a special fund to support on a competitive basis doctoral and postdoctoral work of highly qualified earlier career researchers who specialize in earth system governance research.

If you would like further information or are interested in supporting the earth system governance research community, we invite you do directly contact us at

We welcome contributions to our Foundation’s core programmes by bank transfer to: Earth System Governance Stichting, ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Account / IBAN number: NL36ABNA0545 027586, BIC/SHIFT ABNANL2A.

Please indicate in your bank transfer which of the four main programmes you seek to support: (a)Travel funding for qualified developing country scholars; (b) Support for research on innovative policy solutions; (c) Support for online dissemination of research findings, (d) Support for early-career researchers, or (e) All programmes/No preference.

If you envision any other means of cooperation with the earth system governance research community and its supporting Earth System Governance Foundation, please email directly the Foundation’s director, Ruben Zondervan, at