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ICTA-UABs new strategic program responds to the biophysical manifestations of climate change and other global environmental challenges and how these challenges impact and are influenced by social systems. Such a program is necessarily trans-disciplinary, ranging from the natural sciences to engineering, social sciences and the humanities. This approach becomes fertile ground for fresh scientific and policy perspectives, spillovers and recombinant innovation related to sustainability.

The program is also distinctive: We are not concerned by climate change as an isolated issue, but one related and compounded by other environmental problems, and by social and economic processes. The program is thus both past- and forward looking: it pays attention to climates and interactions of environmental and social systems in the past, as well to environmental change projections, and how to devise effective responses in the present time. In a nutshell, ICTA-UABs future research program aims to provide knowledge, societal and technological transformative solutions to the sustainability challenge. Our research outputs will be well connected to an effective strategic plan of knowledge transfer and dissemination, potentially stimulating the necessary changes across scales.

ICTA-UABs strategic research program is structured around 5 interrelated Societal Challenges, focused on oceanic systems, rural land, urbanization, production and consumption patterns, and transformative policy action. Investigating these Societal Challenges is critical to envision a transition towards a sustainable Earth.

These challenges are included in the strategic program of the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence 2020-2023 granted by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CEX2019-000940-M).