Programme Coordination Team for the Landscape Decisions programme appointed

11 June 2019

A multi-disciplinary programme coordination team at the University of Leicester has been appointed for the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund programme 'Landscape Decisions: Toward a new framework for using land assets'.

The four-year £10·5 million programme will address the challenge of delivering better, evidence-based decisions within UK landscapes through research collaboration with policy, business and land management partners to deliver an interdisciplinary decision-making framework to inform how land is used. The programme is funded by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI). The programme will be jointly delivered by NERC, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic & Social Research Council.

Based at the University of Leicester, the Programme Coordination Team will address the varied challenges and multidisciplinary perspectives of the programme and create additional research value through the integration of the programme components and a series of stakeholder and research impact activities. This work also involves integrating the existing programme of work with new activities funded within the programme, and maximising the synergies between funded grants and with other relevant activities beyond the programme.

The team consists of leading environmental scientists, mathematicians and social scientists, and will be developing interdisciplinary capability and stakeholder engagement with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and a wide range of relevant environmental stakeholder organisations from the public and private sectors. The team will engage with the various components supported through the programme and undertake a series of research synthesis activities to develop programme-level understanding, integration and knowledge exchange, as well as support funding opportunities within the programme identified by the Programme Board with strategic guidance from a Programme Steering Committee .

The programme will develop a community of researchers and stakeholders (business, policy and a diverse cross-section of communities) with interests in improving the processes of landscapes decision making in order to deliver environmental, economic and societal benefits to people.

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC's Executive Chair, said:

With a growing global population, landscapes are under increasing pressure to meet our needs for food, housing, infrastructure and industry, whilst also providing vital ecosystem services and supporting biodiversity. Creating frameworks to support decision making around how we use and manage landscapes is a complex task that requires multidisciplinary engagement and high-level coordination. The appointment of the Programme Coordination Team will allow us to deliver a cohesive programme to the highest standards from start to finish, to provide world-class research and advisory capability for the future.

Professor Heiko Balzter will be chairing the team. He is Director of the Centre for Landscape & Climate Research at the University of Leicester and programme lead of the National Centre for Earth Observation's Official Development Assistance programme. He said:

Our vision for this programme is to synthesise and create value from the coordination of its multidisciplinary work packages, translate research outcomes into tools for informed, holistic and participatory landscape decision-making to support the delivery of the Defra 25-year environment plan and achieve a better environmental quality that benefits as many people as possible. We will be impartial and discipline-agnostic in our programme coordination and will facilitate transformations in state-of-the-art understandings of human/environmental systems and process involved in making landscape decisions. Our aim is to hold a series of interdisciplinary events and also engage with a diverse range of members of the general public through participatory events in targeted regions to gather views on how we can make better decisions about our future landscapes.

The team will organise a series of programme workshops, followed by targeted research synthesis events and regular stakeholder engagement to ensure co-delivery of the programme with Defra and other users of the research outcomes. It will be supported by three ambassadors, for research and enterprise (Professor Iain Gillespie), policy (Professor Paul van Gardingen) and interdisciplinarity (Professor Lisa Smith).

Members of the team are:

  • Professor Heiko Balzter
  • Professor Sergei Petrovskii
  • Professor Martin Phillips
  • Professor Sibylle Schroll
  • Professor Ivan Tyukin
  • Dr Mick Whelan

Further information on the Landscape Decisions Programme is available.


To contact the Programme Coordination Team, email Professor Heiko Balzter at .