Wallacea Region - Understanding biodiversity & evolutionary responses to environmental change

Volcano in Asia

The Wallacea Region - Understanding biodiversity & evolutionary responses to environmental change programme seeks to explore the biodiversity of the Wallacea region and, through this, understand tensions in land use and the adaptation of biodiversity in response to environmental change. The programme will provide solutions to support effective management, restoration, rehabilitation and exploitation of the region and its biodiversity.

The programme is supported by the UK through the Newton Fund, which forms part of the UK government's official development assistance (ODA) commitment. This programme is a collaboration with the Ministry of Research, Technology & Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia (Ristekdikti).

Announcement of Opportunity: Wallacea Region - Understanding biodiversity & evolutionary responses to environmental change

Closing date: 15 Mar

8 Feb 2018

Proposals are invited under the Wallacea Region - Understanding biodiversity & evolutionary responses to environmental change programme.

1 2

Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world, stretching from Borneo and Java east to New Guinea, over 17,500 islands. 49% of the country is forested, accounting for 10% of the world's tropical forests. The Wallacea biogeographical island region is defined as a group of mainly Indonesian islands separated by deep water straits from the Asian and Australian continental shelves. Wallacea includes Sulawesi, the largest island in the group, as well as Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Halmahera, Buru, Seram, and many smaller islands.

Sitting at the intersection between the Oriental and Australasian biogeographic regions, it is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, with a high level of endemism due to the deep water straits. The Indonesian government has initiated the programme of activities focused around Alfred Russell Wallace to strengthen the ties between Indonesia and the UK at scientific, social and cultural levels. This Wallacea research programme is complemented by early career fellowships, undergraduate expeditions, public lectures, and media engagement through other funding.

Within the past century, Indonesia has undergone significant development as its population has nearly quadrupled. Various activities have put pressure on the long-term sustainability of the forests, such as clearances for agricultural programmes, industrial timber plantations and for land settlement schemes. This has greatly reduced the amount of forest habitat, particularly in the lowlands, and has caused dramatic and severe declines in the populations of many forest species.

This programme aligns to Indonesia's strategic focus on the sustainable management of biodiversity, balancing the need for conservation and economic development through natural resource management. It also aligns to the National Medium Term Development Plan 2015-2019, which seeks to increase support of science and technology for sustainability and utilisation of natural resources.

The programme will deliver new basic science data leading to greater knowledge and wider approaches to inform effective management, restoration, rehabilitation and exploitation of the area's biodiversity and ecosystems, balancing the need for conservation with economic development, and supporting the social and economic stability of the region.

Research challenges the programme could address include:

  • developing knowledge of Wallacea region biodiversity and ecosystem responses to change
  • using this knowledge to understand biodiversity connectivity across the region exploring resilience, trade-offs and informing restoration and management
  • exploring the benefits (economic, environmental and social) attached to the region's natural capital assets (via the benefits and services derived) and therefore providing an informed approach to innovation and business activity.


2018 - 2021

Can I apply for a grant?

There is currently a call for proposals for collaborations between UK and Indonesian researchers, with UK funding of up to £700,000 per project. A notification of intent must be submitted by 16:00 on 15 March 2018 and then full proposals by 16:00 on 1 May 2018.


NERC has a budget of £3·3 million (80% full economic cost) for this call for eligible UK-based researchers, which will be matched in terms of research effort by Indonesia.

Programme awards

Five UK-Indonesia collaborative grants have been awarded. Details can be found on Grants on the Web.

View details of funded grants - external link