The British Academy and Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society announce new Jordan-UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability

10 Dec 2020

The Royal Scientific Society of Jordan and the British Academy are delighted to announce the new Jordan-UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability (EHRCS) has been awarded to Professor Iain Stewart. The Jordan–UK EHRCS is a joint initiative, which aims to enhance the research and innovation capacity of Jordan for long-term sustainable development. The initiative is supported by the Newton-Khalidi Fund.

The Chair’s programme has been designed to increase research capabilities by developing capacity and skills, and through the generation of new knowledge around sustainability, an area of vital strategic and socio-economic importance to Jordan. It will also support the growth of the country’s knowledge economy to aid durable and equitable development.

As the Chair’s inaugural holder, Professor Stewart will evaluate emerging institutional models of transformative science globally to assess how the broad expertise and diverse culture of the Royal Scientific Society can be harnessed to ensure that science and technology may more effectively address Jordan's key sustainable development challenges. Professor Stewart’s research programme will consider capacity challenges across multiple compound sustainability challenges. An intensive parallel training programme will build capacity for science engagement and help raise the national and international profile of the Royal Scientific Society’s work in interdisciplinary, people-centred research. Professor Stewart, formerly Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at the University of Plymouth and a current UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society, is widely known for his 15-year partnership with BBC Television making popular documentaries about the state of the planet.

HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society, said:

“The Royal Scientific Society has a crucial role to play in expanding Jordan’s research and innovation capacity in social sciences and the humanities. The launch of the EHRCS marks a major step in developing Jordan’s research and innovation competitiveness, and in our organisation’s ability to attract world-class researchers. I am delighted that Professor Iain Stewart has been appointed to bring this new chair to life so that he and the Royal Scientific Society may ensure that effective responses to sustainability challenges may be developed locally to help build Jordan’s sustainable future.”

Professor Simon Goldhill FBA, British Academy Foreign Secretary, said:

“It is an immense pleasure to announce with the Royal Scientific Society and HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan the appointment of Professor Iain Stewart to this new research chair in sustainability. Professor Stewart and the Royal Scientific Society have a hugely exciting research programme ahead of them. I am confident that this new chair will help to foster and grow further Jordan’s vibrant research community capable of addressing the challenges of sustainable development.”

Professor Iain Stewart, Jordan-UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability, said:

“It is a great honour to be appointed to this new research chair in sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society and to be working with colleagues there. Together, we have an ambitious and far-reaching agenda to advance in relation to the emerging transformative science paradigm and the repurposing of scientific and technological expertise to face sustainable development challenges.”

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