The Turner Kirk Trust has provided a £250,000 donation to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) to establish the Turner Fellowship. The aim of the Fellowship is to provide funding to researchers hoping to tackle complex biodiversity issues in areas around the world.
The fellows have been selected from a diverse range of disciplines, including law, finance, policy and NGOs to bring unique perspectives to different challenges in biodiversity. They will reside in Cambridge during their tenure, working with CCI partners in the David Attenborough Building. There, they will be able to take advantage of these collaborations to maximise their impact and put biodiversity at the heart of policy and enterprise.
The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally focused biodiversity conservation organisations based in and around Cambridge, UK.
“To make any significant impact on this crisis, we need to have people from a range of disciplines pulling in the same direction and working together. I hope this collaboration between world-leading fellows and the University can be a key step in the fight to preserve biodiversity.”
The goal is ultimately to foster cross-disciplinary work and integrate diverse areas of knowledge across science. Potential collaborations the fellows may be concerned with are China’s concept of Ecological Civilisation, which aims to reconcile contradictions between rapid economic development and the environment, the implementation of which presents a significant challenge. Further collaborations will involve linking nature, climate and sustainable development, for example, aligning the objectives of nature conservation with those of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Turner Kirk Trust aims to improve the impact of its donations to conservation organisations by being strategic about its focus, so it can act as a catalyst and provide innovative solutions to specific, complex problems. It is their belief that the most pressing issues in biodiversity can be solved through research, collaboration, and an interdisciplinary approach.
The donation comes in the wake of huge biodiversity losses in that past century that represent a crisis equalling or surpassing climate change. The Trust believes that conserving biodiversity is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity, and that preserving the variety of life on our planet is vital to our ability to survive and thrive on this planet.
Dr. Patricia Turner, Co-founder of the Turner Kirk Trust and of the fellowship programme, said:
“The threat to biodiversity is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. To make any significant impact, we need to have people from a range of disciplines pulling together to tackle the issue of our survival.
“That’s why the work done at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative is vital, and why we chose to provide this gift. I hope this collaboration between world-leading fellows and the University can be a key step in the fight to preserve biodiversity.
“In order for projects like this to work, it is important that those involved have as much knowledge at their disposal as possible and are prepared to fail in the process. That is the only way we can move towards our goals in conservation – and in philanthropy in general.”