Institute Overview

Study after study establishes that if humanity continues on its current path, a confluence of severe global stresses—environmental, economic, political, and technological—will cause devastating harm in coming decades. These stresses will disrupt vital natural systems, cripple economies, deepen social divisions and ultimately generate widespread societal breakdown and violence.

The Cascade Institute—founded in January 2020—addresses this emerging crisis. Using advanced methods to map and model complex global systems, we identify and help implement high-leverage interventions in social systems. Our goal is to trigger a fundamental, quick, and positive shift in humanity’s trajectory towards fair and sustainable prosperity.

The Institute is located at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, a leader in training professionals to apply creative solutions to entrenched problems. Our work is conducted by outstanding complex-systems scientists, including experts in non-linear change in social and cultural systems. Working in small, nimble teams, we rapidly produce applied, actionable knowledge.

We disseminate this knowledge internationally through targeted, plain-language briefings to senior decision makers. We provide training for mid-career professionals and community leaders. We publish peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. And we sponsor public outreach events and a full suite of media platforms for knowledge translation and social engagement.

When fully operational the Institute will employ fifteen researchers—six lead researchers and nine postdoctoral fellows—focusing on defined research projects of limited duration with specific deliverables. The Cascade Institute will exist for 12 years: 2021- 2022 to ramp up and ten years of full operation. The sunset provision highlights the practical immediacy and importance of the Institute’s work and hinders formation of internal vested interests not fully committed to the Institute’s goals.

The Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board includes 26 acclaimed scientists from universities in Oxford, Cambridge, Stockholm, Potsdam, Santa Barbara, Canberra, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Non-Partisan Orientation

The Cascade Institute is non-partisan and ideologically non-aligned. It promotes fair and sustainable prosperity for all humanity, understood according to the criteria and norms set forth in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Institute engages in both pure and applied research, and its staff and researchers are exclusively responsible for deciding the scope and foci of this research. The Institute’s applied research—including training of practitioners in intervention strategies and field observation of intervention results—is targeted to further specific SDGs.