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The Earth System (including Geosphere, Hydrosphere and Biosphere) is an integrated system with self-regulatory capacity. Human activities have driven interactions within the system causing complex impacts to the environment, the ecosystem and the climate; affecting the wellbeing of mankind and threatening the sustainable development of the human society.

Great efforts and a large amount of resources have been put worldwide into the efforts to find solutions to those problems. Academia Sinica has initiated an interdisciplinary Sustainability Science Program in September 2012 with the establishment of the Center for Sustainability Science. Researchers from the three divisions of the Academy, the Physical Sciences, Life and Medical Sciences, and Humanity and Social Sciences are encouraged to engage in boundary crossing research projects organized and coordinated by the Center, aimed at solving relevant problems and serving as a think tank for the Government on issues related to sustainable development.

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk-International Centre of Excellence (IRDR-ICoE) established at Academia Sinica in 2010 with the support of International Council for Science (ICSU) was incorporated into the Center in 2012 to serve as an international platform for conducting integrated research, establishing a partnership network of interdisciplinary researchers and strengthening international collaborations.

The Center assists the operation of Future Earth Taipei established at Academia Sinica in 2015 as one of the National Entities in Future Earth, a major international scientific activity and research initiative on global environmental change and sustainability. The Center is closely collaborating with Future Earth Global Hub, Future Earth in Asia, and Future Earth Knowledge-Action Networks (KANs) in the international activities.