Bridging the gap in biodiversity conservation

Cambridge Conservation Initiative
Project Link

The speed with which academic research in biodiversity conservation is translated into conservation action on the ground needs acceleration. Transformational opportunities are being missed at a time when we need to take urgent action to address global biodiversity loss.

With seed funding from EET, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) established in 2019 the Knowledge Exchange Studentship Programme.

The programme brings academics from the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute together with leading conservation practitioners from CCI’s partners to supervise ‘knowledge-exchange’ doctoral studentships.

EET’s support has leveraged research council funding towards these studentships and enabled CCI partners to co-supervise research which informs the conservation practice in the field, as well as the design of effective conservation policy.

Stronger links between research and practice

EET has funded the first three doctoral students in the programme – Fleur Nash, Esme Ashe-Jepson and Joycelyn Longdon.

In the first three years of the programme, the students have delivered progress and insights that are directly applicable to conservation practice:

  • Fleur Nash’s research has informed how FFI’s partnerships and programmes can evolve and improve.
  • Esme Ashe-Jepson has helped the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to collect more high-quality data over a shorter period of time to inform future conservation work at their sites.
  • Joycelyn Langdon has started helping the British Trust for Ornithology develop new methods for ecological monitoring in Ghana and build better research practices in conservation by working with indigenous groups.
Actionable insights

The students are encouraged and supported to share insights from their work with the CCI community and the wider public as they progress, increasing peer-to-peer learning and open access to research.

Fleur Nash has shared a broad set of evidence from her research with the CCI community through seminars like this one.

Esme Ashe-Jepson joined the Researcher’s Stories series from the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge, to discuss the ways in which her research can help inform management in nature reserves.

Joycelyn Longdon has shared honest and insightful updates on her website here.

“The Cambridge Conservation Initiative was set up to bring innovation and impact to the accelerating biodiversity crisis. EET’s support has enabled us to align innovative research projects to implementation and for three researchers to benefit from world-class mentoring.” 

Dr. Mike Maunder, Executive Director, Cambridge Conservation Initiative

A wider system change

These studentships are creating a replicable template for interdisciplinary research with the aim to inspire a wider system change within the CCI network of partners. This in turn will ensure that the right research is undertaken and on-the-ground results are delivered quickly.


Impact at a glance

  • The programme targets the gap between academic research and research in the field of biodiversity conservation
  • The first three scholars supported by EET have delivered actionable insights for leading conservation practitioners from CCI’s partners, providing a ‘proof of concept’ for the programme
  • In future years, the programme aims to create a replicable template for interdisciplinary research that delivers on-the-ground results and impactful conservation research