Prof Joseph Alcamo

Post:Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (Geography, Data Intensive Science Centre at the University of Sussex)
Other posts:Professor of Environmental Systems Science (Geography)
Location:CHICHESTER 1 CI142

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 873209
International:+44 1273 873209
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ŒJoseph Alcamo is Professor of Environmental Systems Science, and Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) at the University of Sussex in the UK.  As SSRP Director he leads a multi-faceted research effort to provide "Science for the SDGs".

Over his long career he has spearheaded research in global modelling of the environment, integrated assessment modelling, climate impact research, global water research, and environmental scenario analysis. He was co-founder of the two largest global change research alliances, the “Earth System Science Partnership” (2006) and “Future Earth” (2010-11).  He has led research groups in several countries and up to 2017 was Professor and Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Systems Research at the University of Kassel in Germany. 

He was co-founder and co-chair of the first global water research programme of the international research community (Global Water System Project) (2004-2010). His current research focus is on the "Global Water Quality Challenge" and numerical modelling of water quality in low and medium income countries.

During 2009-13 Professor Alcamo served as the first Chief Scientist of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and was the first to hold a chief scientist post within the UN system. While at UN Environment he brought together large groups of scientists to produce high profile reports for policymakers on climate change, air pollution, ozone layer depletion, and food security issues. He helped found the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, an alliance of governments and non-state partners dedicated to fast action on pollutants that cause both air pollution and climate change.

He also played a strategic role in the international climate negotiations leading up to the Paris Agreement as initiator of UN Environment’s “Emissions Gap” report which each year presents a highly publicized “scorecard” of whether country commitments are adequate to reach climate goals. After leaving UN Environment he continued his active role in the negotiations as Special Science Advisor to Christiana Figueres, the UN Head of the climate negotiations (2014-2016).

Alcamo has received several awards for achievements in global change research including the international Max Planck Research Prize in physics and geoscience for contributions to the development of integrated modelling of the environment, and the “Grand Prix des Lumières de l’Eau de Cannes” for contributions to global water research.  

He was born and raised in New York City and was listening to Joe Cocker at Woodstock in 1969 when the rains started coming down.