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.
Wild nature is declining rapidly, and the earth’s life support systems are under increasing stress. As nature erodes and the response of human systems is inadequate or destructive, it can seem like the only rational response is despair. Yet if you zoom in from the big picture, a mosaic appears; in amongst the stories of loss there are inspiring stories of regeneration and positive change, with nature making a difference in people’s lives, and people valuing and nurturing their natural environment. These stories are the key to securing our planet’s future; we need to learn from them, replicate them and thereby build a world in which nature and people can coexist. Our mission is telling these stories of conservation optimism — large and small — so as to inspire change.
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 again in 2017.