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On January 27, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa, Professor Jeffrey Sachs and Dr. Sonia Sachs received the World Sustainability Award for their global work on sustainable development. Professor Sachs is the director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University where he also serves as University Professor.

The World Sustainability Award and the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award are funded to encourage new initiatives and developments in sustainability with the ultimate aim to foster the transfer from sustainability research to sustainable practices and societies. In this context, sustainability is understood as the interdependence between economic, social, and environmental concerns for mutually beneficial regional and global development. Sustainability is associated with a multitude of academic disciplines, and it is circumscribed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The World Sustainability Award, funded by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation, will be conferred upon individual researchers or research teams, who have made an outstanding academic or societal contribution to sustainability in general, or to a sustainability-relevant issue in particular. A joint award, shared by up to three recipients, is possible. The award includes a monetary prize of USD 100,000.

The Emerging Sustainability Leader Award, funded by the MDPI journal Sustainability, will be conferred upon an individual researcher aged 40 or under at the time of the submission deadline, who has made an outstanding academic or societal contribution to sustainability in general, or to a sustainability-relevant issue in particular. The award includes a monetary prize of USD 10,000. A joint award, shared by up to two recipients, is possible.