Enhancing Capacity For Change
One of the aims of the ICCS group is to improve engagement between researchers, conservation practitioners in the international and local NGO sectors, and businesses developing and implementing corporate biodiversity strategies, in order that scientific research is informed by, and meaningful for, real-world conservation issues. There is a widely recognised problem of a mismatch between academic research and conservation practice, which we are keen to bridge.
We work with governments, NGOs and industry globally to influence policy development, provide robust science-based advice on biodiversity issues, and implement and evaluate biodiversity monitoring programmes. This theme pervades all of our research, and all group members are actively involved in supporting conservation practice, but we also have some specific activities under this theme:
Through our Knowledge Exchange Programme we work with business, facilitating improved two-way communication between conservation scientists and industry, and applying conservation research to help address their specific challenges.
Our Biodiversity Fellows Programme offers NGO, government or business employees working on biodiversity conservation the chance to spend up to 3 months with the ICCS group at the University of Oxford, writing papers, developing ideas or writing grant proposals.
Through our leadership of the Saiga Conservation Alliance we support in-country conservationists, international conventions (particularly the Convention on Migratory Species and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and governments, with the mission to restore the saiga antelope to its position as the flagship species of the Central Asian and Russian steppe. This includes maintaining a Saiga Resource Centre and publishing a biannual newsletter.
Conservation is too often seen as a crisis discipline, and one in which bad news predominates. Although we are facing huge challenges, there are many positive stories where conservation has made a difference to people's lives and to the status of wild nature. Our Conservation Optimism Summit in 2017 will inspire conservationists, the public, policy-makers, business and the media to seek out positive ways to connect people with nature. It will bring together conservation practitioners and academics from around the world, and of all ages, to develop and stand behind a new approach to conservation. It will also provide a showcase to a wide audience of how individuals, communities, non-governmental organisations, business and governments can work together to effect change, in their own lives and more broadly.
We strongly support initiatives such as Soapbox Science, which promote women in science and inspire young women to follow a career in STEM-related fields. In fact we were instrumental in bringing the first Soapbox Science event to Oxford in 2016 and will be supporting the event again in 2017.
Current members of the group working on this theme include: