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In the course of the regular assessments of global environmental programmes by the IGFA, the acquisition of enormous amounts of knowledge through international research and identification of existing deficits in the implementation of research findings has come about. The National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA and the National Environment Research Council (NERC) in the UK held a conference in 2009 to identify the priorities of global environmental research and rethink the structures required to carry this out. The conference laid the foundation for the Belmont Forum.

The participants of the conference agreed to establish the Belmont Forum based on the following objectives: (1) to strengthen the engagement between research funding agencies and academic research associations (represented by the ICSU) and (2) to support research strategies and the priorities of global environmental research in the early phase in order to improve and coordinate the co-design, co-alignment and co-funding of essential research programmes. When it became the Council of Principals for the IGFA, the Belmont Forum was allotted a key role in the international research landscape in October 2009. Representing Germany on the Belmont Forum are the DFG and the BMBF.

In 2009, the Belmont Forum set in motion a process to identify research priorities from the point of view of research funders. The resulting Belmont Challenge is described thus:

“To deliver knowledge needed for action to avoid and adapt to detrimental environmental change including extreme hazardous events.”

The Belmont Challenge is directed at academics and includes a requirement for the provision of the basic knowledge needed to avoid and adapt to negative changes in the environment (including extreme events). This includes information on vulnerable coastal areas, securing drinking water, ecosystem services, carbon budgeting and highly endangered societies, with the following priorities:

  1. Assessing the risks, influences and vulnerabilities of regional and decadal analysis and projections.
  2. Gathering information about the status quo of the environment with the help of advanced monitoring systems.
  3. Collaboration between the natural and social sciences.
  4. Improving services for users of environmental data.
  5. Effective, international mechanisms for coordination.


Since 2012, the Belmont Forum has been funding research topics of major international interest through the International Opportunities Fund (IOF), in which various research funding agencies can participate. Calls for proposals are being prepared for publication as Collaborative Research Actions (CRA) on the following topics:



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