Young scholars (defined as early- and mid-career professionals of sciences, arts and humanities) across the world increasingly recognise the need to build a true and integrated global community, regardless of geographical, disciplinary or financial barriers. This community will enhance the contribution that young scholars around the world can make to science and society. We believe the next frontiers of discovery, thought, and ideas, which will be essential to solving today’s and future global challenges, will be shaped by those who understand the need for partnerships that transcend boundaries. We also believe the skills to effectively navigate geographical, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries, to influence policy, and to engage with key stakeholders can be nurtured and are not just innate. An important strategy for achieving this is through the network of young academies (YAs), consisting of national (NYAs) and regional YAs and the Global Young Academy (GYA). The role of these YAs is to identify, connect and nurture excellent young scholars.
The knowledge landscape once dominated by learned societies now has many other actors. The recognition that young scholars bring unique perspectives to many of the challenges science and society are facing today prompts YAs to engage with these actors using novel approaches rather than simply recreating younger versions of “senior” academies (defined as the traditional academies of sciences, arts and humanities that comprise established scholars as life-long members). Furthermore, YAs give voice to and advocate for young scholars, addressing their specific needs and challenges, thus combining a dual role of outreach as well as research and science leadership capacity building. In contrast to “senior” academies, membership term in YAs is limited, with selection based on both academic excellence and a demonstrated commitment to reach out to other disciplines and society, urging members to use this opportunity wisely and encouraging them to participate in the activities of their academies during their membership period.