Options Magazine, Summer 2023: Nicole Arbour is the current Director of the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding for environmental change research and accelerates its delivery to remove critical barriers to sustainability.

Nicole Arbour Feature © Frank Wimart

“I feel that the work of the Belmont Forum can really have an impact,” says Arbour. “I work with the organization’s members to create spaces for societally relevant transdisciplinary research to be taken forward, to ultimately assist with skill development and community building towards goals and values I truly believe in.”

While she may have left IIASA where she previously worked as External Relations Manager, Arbour’s collaborations with IIASA and former colleagues continue.

“I learned a lot about how an international, member-based research organization functions, about systems analysis, and why it is pivotal to the global environmental change research currently being done. I also met many fantastic people, and I still carry all of that with me, bringing systems thinking into many aspects of my work and life,” she notes.

Some of the initiatives she is involved with include finding opportunities to train colleagues and future leaders in systems analysis, and to incorporate systems approaches in the Sustainability, Research, and Innovation Congress that Belmont Forum hosts with Future Earth.

Arbour finds the international research space a challenging and rewarding area to work and engage in.

“Finding ways to empower the research community to work together across geopolitical borders and to engage equitably on peer, community, and organizational levels is what keeps me moving forward. The global challenges we face will require the community to come together towards shared goals. If the work I do can help make that happen, to maybe make the future a little safer and brighter for my daughters, then I will be happy,” she concludes.

By Monika Bauer

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