In a collective statement endorsed by 30 Young Academies and Associations and delivered during the closing ceremony of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD) at CERN in Switzerland, the GYA underscored the pivotal role of fundamental science in achieving the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) with its “Call for Action from Young Academies and Young Associations: Reaffirming the Role of Fundamental Sciences in Achieving Sustainable Development through Enhanced and Equitable Support of Fundamental Research and Early- to Mid-Career Researchers“.
The joint statement acknowledges the historical impact of fundamental science, citing examples such as the development of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine and the roots of digital technology in fundamental research. Highlighting persistent challenges, the statement also sheds light on inequities within the research sector. Early- and mid-career researchers, particularly in low- to middle-income nations, face disadvantages, contributing to a global research density imbalance.
“We recognize that fundamental science is the bedrock of societal progress, and this statement reflects the unified voice of young scientists committed to shaping a sustainable future,” stated GYA member Hiba Baroud (Vanderbilt University, United States), who was a member of the GYA team that drafted the statement. Hiba adds, “The widespread support from our peers underscores the significance of this call to action and reaffirms our collective commitment to driving meaningful change through research and innovation.”
Despite these contributions, the appreciation and investment in fundamental science are on the decline worldwide, with a recent GYA report (Back to basics) revealing a shift towards applied research and demonstrating that researchers worldwide perceive a decline in support for fundamental science.
In response to these trends, the statement proposes actionable steps to connect fundamental science with sustainable development. Suggestions include supporting interdisciplinary research aligned with sustainable development goals, enhancing transitions from research to innovation, and addressing global inequities in research opportunities. The statement calls for global collaboration and urges stakeholders to recognize the profound significance of fundamental science in building a sustainable and equitable future.