Coordinators for Valuing Nature programme appointed

12 November 2014

NERC have appointed a multi-disciplinary team to coordinate the Valuing Nature programme

The five year, about £6·5m programme is funded by NERC, the Economic & Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). It aims to better understand and represent the complexities of the natural environment in valuation analyses and to consider the wider societal and cultural value of ecosystem services.

The coordination team's role is to focus on developing a genuinely inter-disciplinary research community capable of working across the natural, biological and social sciences, and arts and humanities. The team will further develop the existing Valuing Nature Network, which already has over 1,300 members, and will provide opportunities for engagement between researchers, policymakers, businesses and practitioners.

Professor Rosie Hails of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is leading the team, which also comprises Exeter and Oxford Universities, the Economics of the Environment Consultancy (EFTEC), the Countryscape creative communications agency and Guy Duke, an independent business consultant.

According to Professor Hails:

"Our focus will be to engage and create dialogue with partners across academia, business, government, and NGO sectors. It is important to develop common understanding between a wide range of disciplines if we are to significantly advance the valuation of our natural environment, and inform government policy development and business decision-making so that an ecosystems approach can be put into practice."

Dr Rob Fish of the University of Exeter highlights that an important strand of the programme will be to place valuation approaches and analyses in their wider social and cultural context:

"In developing the programme we want to avoid the assumption that the valuing nature agenda is of concern only to natural science and economics. Our aim is to amplify the many and diverse contributions that the wider social sciences and arts and humanities can play in this debate to promote innovation, encourage critical debate and expand opportunities for novel learning across disciplines."

The team will be steered by an interdisciplinary Programme Advisory Group which will act as a route to engage with all of the relevant communities.

The team will run town meetings, starting in early 2015, to support the launch of the programme's main funding call, which aims specifically to increase understanding of the links between ecosystems and human health and well-being.

Further information on the Valuing Nature programme is available.

To contact the Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team, email Dr Anita Weatherby at .