Thriving Earth Exchange

The American Geophysical Union's Thriving Earth Exchange strengthens and enhances collaboration among communities, scientists, and partner organizations so that all communities can build healthy, resilient, thriving, just, and ecologically responsible futures.



Thriving Earth Exchange is a leader in contributing to global well-being by supporting communities’ awareness and application of science, and promotes equity by ensuring that all communities benefit from the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and guide the use of scientific knowledge.

AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange program connects communities with scientists and supports them as they work together to tackle local challenges related to natural hazards, natural resources, and climate change. 

Community Science happens when communities and scientists do science together to advance community priorities. “Doing science” includes defining questions, designing protocols, collecting and analyzing data, and using scientific knowledge in decision-making. Every community science project is begins with community voice, is guided by community knowledge, and ends in community impact. 

Future Earth Australia and Thriving Earth Exchange

Thriving Earth Exchange launched in 2016 and it has exceeded all its initial goals while simultaneously developing a successful and scalable community science approach. By 2019, the program had enabled over 100 projects in communities with a collective population of over 17 million people. 

Thriving Earth Exchange helps connect local communities with scientists to co-design and co-produce projects that advance local priorities related to natural resources, climate change, and natural hazards. Its mission is to strengthen and enhance collaboration among communities, scientists, and partner organisations so that all communities can build healthy, resilient, thriving, just, and ecologically responsible futures. 

Future Earth Australia is bringing this highly successful model to our region. By connecting with community leaders who need scientific expertise on their sustainability priorities, sourcing a team of pro-bono scientific experts to serve, and facilitating the co-design, development, and execution of the project, we will facilitate actionable science for the wellbeing of communities. 

Community Science Model

Future Earth Australia uses Thriving Earth Exchange’s 4-phase model to support each community science project through its 6 to 12-month lifetime. 


Scope: Projects are developed and defined based on community priorities. Through a series of conversations with a Thriving Earth Exchange project liaison, community leaders explore their values, priorities, strengths, and challenges, and their connections to Earth and space science. Scope is complete when the community has committed to pursuing a specific project. 

Match: We identify a scientist with the right skills and expertise to engage pro-bono with the community for the duration of the project. Match is complete once the scientist and community leaders have been introduced and agree to work together on a project. 

Solve: Community leaders and scientists work together collaboratively to achieve the project objectives. We provide project mentorship, facilitation and support, as well as connections to potential partners or needed resources. Solve is complete once the final project outputs have been completed and delivered to end users for a defined outcome.  

Share: Every community is unique, but many face similar challenges. Sharing the results of Thriving Earth Exchange projects enables other teams to adapt and build upon community science solutions. Share includes making sure that the project outputs translate beyond the community, recognizing the efforts of volunteers, and providing feedback on the Thriving Earth Exchange process. 

For more in-depth information, along with descriptions of past projects undertaken using this model, can be found at: