Professor Will Steffen

Australian National University

Australian National University

Phone: (02) 6125 6599
Researcher ID: C-7651-2011

BSc (1970) University of Missouri, USA
MSc (1972) University of Florida, USA
PhD (1975) University of Florida, USA


Professor Will Steffen completed his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Missouri. He was awarded his master’s degree and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Florida. He went on to serve as the Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme based in Stockholm. In 2005 he became the first Director of the Australian National University Fenner School of Environment & Society and from 2008 to 2012 he was the Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute.

His research interests range from sustainability to Earth system science, with an emphasis on the science of climate change, including approaches to climate change adaptation in land systems. He is known for his research on the incorporation of human processes into Earth system modelling and the past and future relationship between humans and nature.

Prof Steffen has collaborated with and consulted for scientific organisations globally. He has been a member of: the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council working group on Australia’s Science & Technology Priorities for Global Engagement; the Advisory Board of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; and the Advisory Panel of the Earth and Sun System Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. Prof Steffen was also a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Centre, Korea, and is currently Honorary Professor with Copenhagen University’s Department of Geography and Geology, and a senior fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Prof Steffen has held a number of advisory roles to the Australian Government at various times between 2004 and 2013: he was expert advisor to the multi-party Climate Change Committee; member of the Climate Commission; scientific advisor to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (and its forerunners); and Chair of the Federal Government’s Antarctic Science Advisory Committee. From October 2013 he has been a councillor with the crowd-funded Climate Council of Australia.

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