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Research Institutes

College of Global Change and Earth System Science


Significance of the College

The earth is a constantly changing planet. When human beings are able to change the environment on a global scale, the earth begins to enter a unique stage of development. In order to seek their better development, human beings have been changing and destroying the original living environment to varying degrees. 


At present, the world is facing a series of unprecedented major global environmental problems: shortage of clean fresh water, degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, aggravation of soil erosion, destruction of biodiversity, changes in atmospheric chemistry, decline in fishery production, and the possibility of major changes in the global climate. These changes in the earth’s environment, which have gone beyond the scope of automatic changes in the earth itself, pose a threat to the survival of mankind like disasters such as war, poverty, disease and malnutrition.


Since the 1980s, the international scientific community has successively initiated and organized the implementation of the global change research program, which takes global change and the earth system as research objects and consists of four major research programs, namely, the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change Program(IHDP), DIVERSITAS.  With the “earth system” as its research object, the global change science regards the atmosphere, the hydrosphere (including the cryosphere), the lithosphere and the biosphere as a whole, explores the interactions of a series of interactive processes (including the interactions between various components of the system, and the interactions of three basic processes of physics, chemistry and biology), and pays special attention to the impact of human activities on the earth environment. Therefore, the global change and the earth system science has emerged as a brand-new integrated science at the forefront of the contemporary international scientific community.


Beijing Normal University, as one of China’s important research bases, is the only university in China that has brought together scientists from different fields to carry out interdisciplinary research on and talent training for global change and earth system science for a long time. Beijing Normal University has long been committed to the comprehensive and integrated research on global change and the frontier of earth system science. On January 19, 2008, the university established the “College of Global Change and Earth System Science” on the basis of the original College of Geography and Remote Sensing, the Institute of Environment, the Institute of Resources, the Institute of Water Science and the Institute of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, relying on its comprehensive, cross-cutting and systematic multidisciplinary advantages. On December 15, 2008, the college was officially inaugurated at the International Symposium on Global Change and Earth System Science and the Inauguration Ceremony of the BNU College of Global Change and Earth System Science held by Beijing Normal University. 


The College has developed an international research and teaching team and trained innovative research and application talents with interdisciplinary capabilities, on the supportive platforms of the State Key Laboratory of Surface Process and Resource Ecology, the State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, the State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, the High Performance Scientific Computing Center, and a number of departmental (municipal) level key laboratories and engineering centers, and by developing innovative teams through cooperation with high-level research institutions and scientists at home and abroad.



Development Goals

The goals of the College are: to build an international first-class discipline of global change and earth system science through the joint efforts of discipline construction, team construction, scientific research, talent training, and condition guarantee, and finally to build the College into a research center in the field of global change and earth system science with significant international impact, a high-level talent training base, an influential international academic exchange center, and a national center for foreign and domestic policy consultation on global change.



Concept and Mission

The mission of the College is to highlight the characteristics of interdisciplinary research and comprehensive research in the development of earth science today, enhance our ability to predict global and regional climate and environmental changes, effectively aim at serving the national economy, carry out integrated research on global change and earth system science, and build a research center with international standards and a training base for innovative talents, based on the research of the earth system model and key scientific issues, supported by the global change comprehensive observation data platform, linked by the interaction mechanism between human activities and global change, taking global change economics as a key breakthrough direction, and with a view to the requirements of China’s national economy and social development on earth science.