Our 30th anniversary

PAGES30YPatch V2Celebrations are starting for PAGES' 30th anniversary!

Since 1991, PAGES has been at the forefront of paleoscience research and collaboration, bringing together international scientists to study past changes in the Earth system in order to improve projections of future climate and environment, and inform strategies for sustainability.

PAGES is truly fortunate to have had steady scientific and financial support on which to build its contributions to global paleoenvironmental and sustainability science.

Thirty years ago, Hans Oeschger, Jack Eddy, Herman Zimmerman and others' efforts convinced the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) to create the precursors of PAGES, and to obtain funding for global scientific activities from the US and Swiss national science foundations.

Their objective – to use the past to discover complex Earth-system processes that are relevant to future dynamics, but which are difficult to access through short-term observations or experiments – was visionary.

All these years later, and through the transition of PAGES from the IGBP into a Global Research Project of Future Earth, this goal remains as relevant and motivating as ever.

PAGES co-chair Mike Evans said it is difficult to overestimate the significance of PAGES' longevity for accelerating the development of generations of scientists and of scientific advances.

"PAGES has supported working groups over three to six years, and longer intervals, which is essential to deep exploration of topics," he said.

"It has permitted the painstaking work of constructing syntheses of datasets and their metadata, enabling further research by others; generated grand ideas and challenges through international workshops and periodic open science meetings; and provided mentoring and research opportunities for generations of early-career scientists."

Executive Director Marie-France Loutre also highlighted PAGES' long history of supporting early-career researchers.

"When I was an early-career researcher, I had the chance to attend a PAGES workshop and I'm extremely happy that they are still given this chance, 30 years after the founding of PAGES," she said.

"This is thanks to the work of devoted scientists, who believed in the strength of collaboration, and of a succession of hard-working PAGES office members. Moreover, PAGES was extremely lucky to receive steady financial support from the US and Swiss national science foundations, and now and for the coming years thanks to the Swiss and Chinese academies of sciences. I wish a very happy birthday to PAGES, a long life of PAGES' activities, and many more inspiring future collaborations."

The outstanding work of the increasingly diverse PAGES' community, with many scientific breakthroughs and contributions from natural, social and historical sciences, made it possible to maintain US and Swiss support throughout the past 30 years. In turn, PAGES has coalesced US paleoscientific leadership and made the University of Bern and Switzerland a global hub of interdisciplinary paleoscience research.

Co-chair Willy Tinner explained the long-standing connection between PAGES and the University of Bern, Switzerland.

"PAGES has always been important to the University of Bern and Switzerland - on a local level because paleosciences had been in the center of interdisciplinary research throughout the 20th century, and nationally because Switzerland, as a small country, needed to open to international research and foreign scholars to run high-level universities," he said.

"Recently, the Swiss Academy of Sciences took over the role of the Swiss National Science Foundation and after the long-standing commitment of the US National Science Foundation, it is now the second year that the Chinese Academy of Sciences is supporting our activities. While the unrivaled scientific role of PAGES as a global research project has never been questioned, more efforts are needed to secure and anchor PAGES internationally."

As we celebrate PAGES' 30th year, it is our hope that the paleoenvironmental research community will become ever more cooperative, international, diverse, and productive in global change and sustainability science.

Planned celebrations include a special Past Global Changes Magazine issue in the first half of next year and informal events at PAGES' 6th Open Science Meeting and 4th Young Scientists Meeting in Agadir, Morrocco, in May 2021.