iKNOW ERA Toolkit

Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to the Grand Challenges & Thematic Priorities of the European Research Area

Funded by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities 

Environment (including Climate Change)

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The Environment theme has a total budget of € 1.9 billion. Environmental research has a twofold objective: (a) to promote the sustainable management of the environment and its resources through increasing knowledge about the interactions between the climate, biosphere, ecosystems and human activities; and (b) to develop new technologies, tools and services that address global environmental issues. Emphasis will be put on prediction tools and on technologies for monitoring, prevention, mitigation of and adaptation to environmental pressures and risks.

Environment research focuses on:

1. Climate change, pollution and risks

  • Pressures on the environment and climate
  • Environment and health
  • Natural hazards

2. Sustainable Management of Resources

  • Conservation and sustainable management of natural and man-made resources and biodiversity
  • Management of marine environments

3. Environmental Technologies

  • Environmental technologies for observation, simulation, prevention, mitigation, adaptation, remediation and restoration of the natural and man-made environment
  • Protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, including human habitat improved damage assessment on cultural heritage
  • Technology assessment, verification and testing

4. Earth observation and assessment tools

  • Earth and ocean observation systems and monitoring methods for the environment and sustainable development
  • Forecasting methods and assessment tools for sustainable development taking into account differing scales of observation

Emerging themes and issues

That we confront a whole series of environmental crises, and that these are interlinked in many ways that we are only just beginning to understand, is widely accepted. That we need research to monitor, map, and explore these problems is unarguable.  How these crises develop – at what speed and intensity, with what repercussions – and how human intervention might mitigate or cope with the underlying problems and their immediate effects is much less clear.  What sorts of interdisciplinary study are best suited to the challenges is also a matter of debate, not helped by the politicisation of many topics (and the interventions that powerful lobbies are making to undermine the science, as environmental researchers generally see it).

Click on the Display Wild Cards / Weak Signals button above to see selected issues associated to this theme.