The question of how global humanity can live better, while remaining within planetary boundaries, is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Elements of this challenge are being addressed by many thousands of researchers around the world, but these efforts are often isolated within disciplines, and there is no existing unification of natural science aspects with social aspects within a common quantitative framework. The BIGSEA project (www.earthsystemdynamics.org/iesd/bigsea
) addresses this shortfall by aiming to develop a novel integrated, grid-based model framework that resolves both human and natural components, and to apply this to fundamental questions regarding interactions between climate, biogeochemistry, fishing and the marine ecosystem. This ambitious goal requires assembling a team with specific aspects of inter-disciplinary expertise, developing a new quantitative framework for simulating humans, identifying critical links of understanding, proposing new hypotheses and testing them against data.