Collaborator Release

Al Gore to lead global ‘healthy planet, healthy lives’ forum in Switzerland

Former US Vice President to address climate solutions in Montreux

JCVI President Karen Nelson to speak on “getting to the guts of health and disease”

Switzerland will host some of the world’s top scientists, policymakers, and industry leaders at a major international science event in Montreux this May. The fifth annual Frontiers Forum will welcome speakers including the former US vice president, Nobel Prize awardee and the leading advocate about climate change, Al Gore, renowned cognitive psychologist and best-selling author, Steven Pinker, and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

The Forum’s principal focus is to drive real progress using science-led solutions to enable every person to live a healthy and prosperous life on a healthy, thriving planet. The event enables a holistic – and arguably very rare – view of groundbreaking new developments around health and sustainability from different perspectives. The Forum will foster collaborations that take these developments out of the lab and convert them into new policies and market solutions.

High-profile experts from a diverse range of scientific, policy and industry backgrounds will come together to share and showcase new ways to eradicate disease, create better crops, develop safe and clean energy sources, remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and protect biodiversity. Al Gore will address the burning issue of solutions for climate change. His attendance is expected to attract considerable interest.

The Frontiers Forum will take place on May 16th. Around 700 distinguished experts are expected to attend. It follows this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, which attracted a roster of global personalities.

Healthy Lives on a Healthy Planet

Kamila Markram, co-founder and CEO of Frontiers said: “Over the last 12-months alone, we have seen ravaging forest fires, record carbon emissions, the hottest year on record for our oceans, more deforestation, more pollution, and more plastic production. Things cannot go on like this.

“The 2020 Forum will bring together some of the world’s leading scientific minds. It aims to kindle new scientific collaborations and convert existing knowledge into sustainable solutions for healthy lives on a healthy planet. By making science open we can find answers to the growing number of complex problems the world now faces. From climate change to disease to the future of our food supply, through open science, we can help create the solutions we need to make genuine progress.”

Leading minds come together

The Forum will bring together some of the world’s foremost thought-leaders and experts in their respective fields. Speakers and topics include:

  • David Christian | Co-Founder, Big History Project | Using Big History to inform the future
  • James Dale | Queensland University of Technology | Creating better crops
  • Mariya Gabriel | European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth | The future of research and innovation 
  • Al Gore | Former US Vice President | The Climate Crisis and its Solutions
  • Harris Lewin | University of California, Davis | Sequencing all complex life 
  • Kamila Markram | Frontiers | Beyond 2020
  • Karen Nelson | J. Craig Venter Institute | Getting to the guts of health and disease 
  • Daniel Nocera | Harvard University | Harnessing artificial photosynthesis 
  • Steven Pinker | Harvard University | Reason, science, humanism & progress 
  • Jennifer Wilcox | Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Removing carbon from the air 
  • Kongjian Yu | Peking University | Rebuilding ecological infrastructure

Frontiers is currently one of the most cited scholarly publishers in the world, sitting fifth in the world’s top 20 publishers.


For interview requests or to request an invitation to the 2020 Frontiers Forum, please contact: jamie.barclay@frontiersin.org

Please note availability is limited. All attendees must be pre-registered.

Notes to editors:

For more information about the Frontiers Forum 2020, please visit: https://forum.frontiersin.org/

Speaker profiles

  • David Christian, Macquarie University: Using big history to inform the futureDavid Christian trained as a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. His interests sit in history at very large scales and across disciplines – and how this can inform the future. He has developed a number of online courses on Big History – the 13.7 billion years from the Big Bang to modernity – including the Big History Project co-founded with Bill Gates. David is Director of the Big History Institute and Distinguished Professor of Modern History at Macquarie University.
  • James Dale, Queensland University of Technology: Creating Better Crops. James Dale’s ground-breaking work includes modifying bananas to alleviate Vitamin A deficiency in East Africa and creating the first Cavendish bananas resistant to Panama disease – a devastating fungal disease threatening world banana production. Named an Officer in the Order of Australia for services to agricultural biotechnology, he is the inaugural Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at the Queensland University of Technology.
  • Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth European CommissionAs the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel is working for Europe’s digital and climate-neutral transformation. Her responsibilities include implementing the Horizon Europe research program and creating a European Research Area, where research, policy and economic priorities go hand-in-hand – a vision in which she views open science and open innovation as essential policies for the future.
  • Steven Pinker, Harvard University: Reason, science, humanism & progress.  Steven Pinker is a renowned expert of language, consciousness, education, morality, politics, genetics, bioethics behavior and trends in violence, including research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics and social relations. His writing also includes 10 best-selling and award-winning books, the latest of which is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
  • Al Gore, Former US Vice PresidentSolving the climate crisis. An environmental, business and tech visionary, Former Vice President Al Gore is the undisputed epicenter of the global conversation surrounding climate change. He is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit devoted to solving the climate crisis, and a Nobel Peace Laureate. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors.
  • Harris Lewin, University of California, Davis: Sequencing All Complex Life. Harris Lewin co-founded the Earth BioGenome Project – an ambitious effort to sequence, catalog and characterize the DNA of our planet’s 1.5 million known eukaryotes. He also developed the first detailed comparative map of cattle genomes and computationally recreated the chromosomes of the long-extinct ancestor of all placental mammals. Harris is Distinguished Professor of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis.
  • Kamila Markram, CEO and co-founder, FrontiersBeyond 2020. Kamila Markram is a Neuroscientist and Autism Researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Co-founder and CEO of Frontiers – where she developed one of the world’s largest and most impactful Open Science Platforms. Kamila is now focusing on how AI can empower human decision-making to further improve the way science is reviewed, published, evaluated and disseminated to both researchers and the general public.
  • Karen Nelson, J. Craig Venter InstituteGetting to the guts of health and diseaseKaren Nelson led the first human metagenomics study. In addition to studying the relationship between the microbiome and various human and animal disease conditions, her current research includes metagenomic approaches to study the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, reference genome sequencing and analysis primarily for the human body, and other -omics studies. Karen is President of the J. Craig Venter Institute.
  • Daniel G. Nocera, Harvard UniversityHarnessing artificial photosynthesis. Daniel G. Nocera invented the first artificial leaf, followed by the bionic leaf – an artificial photosynthetic system ten times more efficient than natural photosynthesis. Extending this approach to similarly synthesize fertilizer, he has created a way to produce fuel and food using only sunlight, air and water. Listed as TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people in the world” among other accolades, Daniel is the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University.
  • Jennifer Wilcox, Worcester Polytechnic InstituteRemoving carbon from the air. Jennifer Wilcox examines the nexus of energy and the environment, developing mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimize negative climate impacts associated with society’s dependence on fossil fuels. She has served on numerous committees to assess carbon capture methods and impacts on climate, and authored the first textbook on carbon capture. Jennifer is the James H. Manning Chaired Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
  • Kongjian Yu, Peking University: Rebuilding ecological infrastructureKongjian Yu is a world leader in ecological planning and design. His ecological approach to urbanism has been implemented in over 200 cities in China and abroad and has had a significant impact on national policies aimed at improving the environment in China. Kongjian is the founder and Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape at Peking University and founder of Turenscape, an internationally awarded landscape architecture firm.

The original release can be found at Frontiers.