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About the Belmont Forum

The Belmont Forum is a group of the world's major and emerging funders of global environmental change research. It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. It pursues the goals set in the Belmont Challenge by adding value to existing national investments and supporting international partnerships in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific endeavors.


In 1990, the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA) formed as an informal group of representatives from agencies that fund Global Change Research (GCR). With an emphasis on mutual information exchange, IGFA never required binding obligations of its members. Rather, it provided coordination and leadership for international GCR programs (WCRP, IGBP, IHDP, DIVERSITAS, and ESSP) to achieve effective science.

After IGFA was founded, the challenges presented to scientists and funders of global change research changed and societies’ need for information intensified. By the mid-2000s, scientists had produced a great deal of compelling evidence that global change was accelerating beyond previous predictions. However, reviews of the international GCR programs showed that this information was not providing the integrated options needed by society in a way that could be easily understood and used. At the same time,  economic constraints were affecting the funding landscape.

Recognizing these challenges, the National Science Foundation (US) and the Natural Environment Research Council (UK) hosted a small conference of key environment and geosciences funding agencies in June 2009 at the Belmont Conference Center in Elkridge, Maryland, USA. Participants in this “Belmont Conference” agreed on the need for an improved forum for (1) strengthening engagement between research funding agencies and the academic research community and (2) improving co-design, co-alignment, and co-funding of major research programs. To this end, the participants established the Belmont Forum. With its small and specific membership, the Belmont Forum promoted frank discussion and rapid decision-making about the planning, support and implementation of GCR.

In October 2009, the Belmont Forum became the Council of Principals for IGFA, replacing its Steering Committee. Guided by the Belmont Challenge, the Belmont Forum began supporting Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs), which often include calls for research proposals as outlined in the Forum’s Memorandum of Understanding. Projects funded by the first CRA on Coastal Vulnerability and Freshwater Security began in 2013.

The success of the first CRAs prompted several funding organizations and agencies to inquire about joining the Belmont Forum, with a goal of participating in future CRAs. At the time, there was no way to join the Belmont Forum without first joining IGFA, and the existence of two bodies was becoming increasingly confusing for the outside community. As of October 2014, IGFA and the Belmont Forum merged under the name Belmont Forum. A new governance structure was adopted, with an elected Steering Committee and two Co-Chairs. Additionally, a permanent Secretariat was established to further the goals and operations of the Belmont Forum.

Steering Committee

The Belmont Forum Steering Committee is elected by the membership to support and advise Belmont Forum activities between plenary meetings. Two Co-Chairs are elected from the Steering Committee to act as spokespersons for the Belmont Forum and to represent the Belmont Forum to external bodies. The 2016 Co-Chairs and Steering Committee members are listed below.

Kurt Vandenberghe, European Commission

Directorate General, Research and Innovation
Horizontal Aspects - Environment Directorate

Photo of Gilberto Camara

Gilberto Camara, São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

National Institute for Space Research (INPE)


Climate Predictability and Inter-Regional Linkages is Now Open
Climate Services aim at providing more reliable climate information for the near future (months to decades) relevant for local and regional users. Within this broad context, variability of polar and tropical systems affects a large proportion of the world population.

This call aims to contribute to the overall challenge of developing climate services with a focus on inter-regional linkages role in climate variability and predictability. Major impediments indeed still exist having efficient climate services at regional and local level, because of little or poorly understood climate processes (in part caused by a paucity of observations), inadequate dissemination of scientific knowledge, conflicts between climatic and non-climatic stressors and lack of action by decision makers and the human society at large.

'Mountains as Sentinels of Change' Call for Pre-proposals Now Open
This call aims to foster research on climate, environmental, and related societal change in mountain regions, considering new measurements, recovery of existing data, and the development and use of integrated modelling strategies by adopting a strong trans- and inter-disciplinary approach.

The Belmont Forum announces collaborative research awards for the Arctic Observing and Research for Sustainability international opportunity

Efforts supported by this international call will unite the expertise of natural science, social science, and stakeholders to build collaborative teams, synthesize available information, and develop research capacity to address one or more key themes in resilience in the Arctic: the interactions of the natural and living environment; the built environment and infrastructures; natural resource management and development; and governance

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