Humanity is facing multiple interconnected environmental and social crises, owing to industrial society’s unsustainable relationship with the Earth’s life support systems. That our journey to a safer future requires structural change is not a fringe view. The United Nations is clear that planetary health and human well-being require systemic transitions across all sectors, as well as greater attention to equity, justice and the integration of indigenous and local knowledge.
As trusted educators, communicators, and policy-influencers, academics have unique potential – and responsibility – to guide students and society through this transition to a better future. Yet current institutional practices do not foster the types of knowledge, learning, and engagement required for such a transition.
Noticing an increasing groundswell of shared feeling among other academics, and plenty of academics doing great work at the individual level but no central community platforming and developing this work, we decided to try to fill that gap. Faculty for a Future was formed in summer 2021 by a group of people who felt similarly constrained in their academic roles in the face of this complex and precarious future. What you see today are the first steps in this journey, and we hope you’ll join us to make the next ones even better.
Faculty for a Future has distilled research at the intersection of social and ecological crisis into six key points describing the world ahead. This 'diagnosis' outlines our understanding of the emerging world and informs the objectives and development of all of our projects.Find out more
Academia has never been value-free. To orient objective academic work towards a safer, fairer, and healthier future, our community is guided by four values:
Acceptance: We join the dots between different academic disciplines and lived experience, actively acknowledging the severity of environmental and social crises.
Care: We feel a duty of care to those most affected by these crises, and a responsibility to prioritise life, wellbeing, and justice.
Integrity: We aim to conduct our personal and professional lives with respect, courage, and modesty, towards a better and more equal future for all living things.
Freedom: We seek ever greater freedom to act with care and integrity, so that others can enjoy ever greater freedom to live well.
We aim to build new, decentralised academic systems fit for global justice that give academics more freedom to meet the complex demands of the 21st century’s most pressing issues. Together, we will:
Design and convene a globally representative group of experts and citizens to co-produce a new research, teaching and engagement agenda, and new impact metrics that prioritise the real world systemic transformations urged by the UN;
Channel philanthropic funds to grant transdisciplinary projects and full-time positions that meet this agenda. Projects would need to be co-created between academic and non-academic communities, protect staff/participant welfare, and pursue real-world impact;
Build accompanying connective infrastructure to facilitate collaboration on the above agenda, both between academics in higher- and lower-income countries, and between academics, practitioners, and civil society. We will also incorporate supportive funders and journals into this infrastructure.