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Conservation Research Institute


One of the great challenges of the 21st century is to understand and manage human impacts on living organisms and ecosystems in the face of population growth, socio-economic development and anthropogenic climate change.

Some of the biggest threats to biodiversity are over-consumption, over-exploitation and unsustainable use of living natural resources. Changing these drivers requires better understanding of nature and its values to people, as well as practical steps to support economic, social and political transitions towards more equitable and effective stewardship of the planet.

The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute is the academic ‘engine room’ of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) – a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine leading biodiversity conservation organisations, working from the flagship David Attenborough Building in the centre of Cambridge.

Since its creation in October 2013, the Institute has expanded its role and remit and now supports the University presence in the David Attenborough Building, alongside nine other CCI organisations. It became an Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in October 2016 functioning as an independent institute with its aim to break down disciplinary silos by amalgamating conservation related research drawn from all six core Schools within the University: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Clinical Medicine and Technology.

The institute is committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and learning, and works to foster productive – often mutually critical – dialogue between colleagues from diverse intellectual starting points and knowledge traditions. The institute delivers an ambitious programme of research, bringing the natural sciences and technology into intellectual dialogue with the arts, humanities and social sciences. It also has a core role in the MPhil in Conservation Leadership, a University of Cambridge graduate programme, delivered in collaboration with the wider CCI partners, and in the broader University-wide learning agenda in relation to sustainability.