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15th Annual Barnard Lecture

The Robert C. Barnard Environmental Lecture (currently on hiatus) provides a forum for an outstanding speaker to address current environmental issues. This year's lecture will be presented by Dr. Heide Hackmann, executive director of the International Council for Science. 

A new global science policy paradigm:
Toward a transformative science for a sustainable and just world

Science has always had to demonstrate and defend its relevance to society. Today, the pressure on scientists to do so is unrelenting. Demands for scientific knowledge that makes a real difference to real peoples’ lives grow as the consequences of global environmental changes become a reality for communities across the world, and societal risk profiles become increasingly complex. The pressure is peaking, with 2015 a watershed year for world leaders and national governments to agree on and commit to action for a sustainable and equitable future.

The global scientific community is rallying to respond. Key elements of that response add up to what we now must understand and support as a new, global science policy paradigm. It urges scientists not only to integrate their efforts with those of colleagues from other disciplines and fields, but to work iteratively with decision-makers, policy shapers, practitioners and other societal stakeholders in open, networked knowledge arenas, involving collaborative learning and problem-solving. In that solutions space, there also lies a new charter for the social sciences; a call for more – and better – social scientific knowledge to inform and inspire the kind of transformative responses needed to face humanity’s greatest challenge: to simultaneously safeguard planetary resources, social equity, and human wellbeing. 

Dr. Heide Hackmann

Dr. Hackmann has worked as a science policymaker and researcher in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. Before joining the International Council for Science, she headed the International Social Science Council (ISSC), leading the organization’s development of a new and ambitious profile of activities, including delivery of a series of World Social Science Reports and Forums. She served as Report Director for the Council’s 2013 World Social Science Report on “Changing Global Environments,” and played a leading role in driving the integration of the social, behavioral and economic sciences in the development of Future Earth, the global platform for research on sustainability launched in 2012 by the International S&T Alliance for Global Sustainability. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Head of the Department of International Relations and Quality Assessment of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Representing ICSU on numerous international committees and policy forums, she also serves on several international advisory committees including:

  • Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany)
  • Swedish Research Council’s Committee for Development Research
  • START (
  • Cape Farewell (

Dr. Hackmann read for a M.Phil in contemporary social theory at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and holds a PhD in science and technology studies from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.