In the current third term (2019-2021), the DKN is working on sharpening its profile and setting priorities, as well as on its further networking in a national and international context. The current work program has been outlined as follows:

  • Support the German community in the conceptual development of societally relevant research topics (e.g., in the context of the "Future Earth Global Systemic Challenges") including support of the dialogue between science, society and research funding (co-design of research topics).
  • Supporting the German community in shaping the design of integrated research by establishing, e.g., topic-specific working groups.
  • Mobilization and integration of scientists (including early-career scientists) as well as relevant actors at national level in Future Earth and WCRP research. Networking with other relevant groups at international level (e.g. national Future Earth networks) as well as with research funding agencies in Germany, Europe and internationally.
  • Advice on quality criteria of transdisciplinary and solution-oriented sustainability research and advice on how to promote the anchoring of these criteria in the evaluation and selection procedures of the German research funding landscape.
  • Advising the DFG on Future Earth, WCRP and strategic advice in an international context (e.g., Belmont Forum, Future Earth/WCRP relevant areas of ISC).

Numerous events were organized in this context, including three "German Future Earth Summits". In its first term (2013-2015), DKN organized a process of finding a topic in Future Earth that has so far been unique and internationally recognized. This process, which found its most visible expression in the first German Future Earth Summit (2014), was consistently pursued and intensified in the second mandate period (2016-2018).

Through open calls, the scientific community was invited to form working groups and co-design project groups on topics relevant to Future Earth and WCRP. A total of ten working groups and two co-design project groups were formed in the first two terms on a wide range of sustainability topics and presented their results to a larger expert audience in position papers, scientific publications or conferences.