The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has released the White Book of Scientific Challenges 2030 which includes 14 strategic themes to coordinate the effort and the work of several multidisciplinary research teams in the following years. It aims to expand the knowledge frontiers in several fields, such as the origin of life, material composition, space exploration, brain functioning, energetic transition, global society, and the impact of global change.

‘Dynamic Earth. Probing the past, assessing the present, preparing for the future' is one of the newly identified Strategic Topics focused on improving the knowledge and understanding of the Earth structure, its evolution, and dynamics. Joan Martí, researcher and director of Geosciences Barcelona (GEO3BCN-CSIC), and María Charco, from Geosciences Institute (IGEO), are the general coordinators of this strategic theme.

“This theme aims to analyze all the elements related with Geosciences and that are important for our society”, said Martí. Geological hazards and resources, global change, Earth dynamics, and evolution, or planetary research are some of the topics that, according to Martí, “must be addressed by Geosciences”.

Almost 40 research groups from several CSIC institutes are included in this topic. These multidisciplinary centers which have long-term experience in the Earth Sciences research field are, apart from GEO3BCNC-CSIC and IGEO, Andalusian Earth Sciences Institute (IACT); Astrobiology Center (CAB); Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM), Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology (IPNA), Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE), and National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN).

“CSIC is an experienced research institution and has the critical mass needed to address these challenges”, said María Charco, IGEO research and general coordinator of this strategic topic, whose international dimension is also highlighted by Charco: “These groups are already working in various international and European projects, leading some of them”. “Furthermore, they are working on UN projects focused on sustainable development”, she adds.

‘Earth Dynamic” is composed of seven transversal challenges:

  • Sustainability and geological resources and energy transition
  • Multi-hazard approach to risk reduction
  • Understanding past global changes to face the future challenges
  • Environmental quality assessment
  • Extra-terrestrial analogs for Earth system dynamics
  • Geoheritage, knowledge and preservetion

GEO3BCN-CSIC researchers, Ramon Carbonell, Adelina Geyer, Santiago Giralt, María Gema Llorens and Daniel García-Castellanos are the coordinators of some of these challenges.

CSIC has held an online presentation of these 14 strategic themes on 24 February. A detailed explanation of each challenge is included in the "White Book of CSIC Scientific Challenges 2030" published by Editorial CSIC.

These strategic themes have been designed by the CSIC Vice-presidency for Technic and Scientific Research toghether with the Scientific Areas Coordination. During the last year, a strong collaborative effort has been made: more than 1.100 researchers from 112 CSIC centers, as well as external collaborators from other public organizations and universities, took part in this project, identifying these challenges and their possible evolution in the 2030 horizon.

The ‘White Book of CSIC Scientific Challenges 2030’ gathers CSIC’s outlook of 14 strategic themes chosen by their scientific impact and their social importance. The document analyses crucial topics, including the future of universe exploration, artificial intelligence, ocean research, sustainable, safe, and efficient energetic development, or the understanding of the human brain. The book is focused on complex challenges ranging from Health to Social Sciences, and the strategic themes selected cover basic questions and possible applications.

“The 14 edited white books, which have been designed as a reference to elaborate the institutional research strategy, allow us to know the research that is being currently conducted at the CSIC institutes. Besides, it gives us an overall picture of the future priorities along the coming decade”, explains Victoria Moreno-Arribas, vice-president of CSIC Scientific and Technical Research Areas.

These are the 14 strategic themes:

  • Sustainable global society
  • Life origins
  • Genome and epigenetics
  • Biomedicine and health
  • Brain, mind, and behavior
  • Sustainable raw production
  • Global change
  • Efficient, clean, and secure energy
  • Understanding the basic universe elements
  • Complex and digital information
  • Artificial intelligence, robotic and data science
  • Space, colonization, and exploration
  • Ocean
  • Earth dynamic

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