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About Us

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 (UCCRI) 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.

UCCRI 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. UCCRI 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.

Our Vision

  • Create an interdisciplinary environment for research on biodiversity conservation and the social context within which humans engage with nature
  • To build a diverse and inclusive conservation community
  • To pursue common agendas from a variety of intellectual starting points and creating possibilities for creating significant advances in conservation knowledge
  • Engage in non-traditional conservation training and support; increase the breadth of social science content within conservation research
  • Develop a nurturing space for, and actively facilitate, cross-disciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange

Our Values

  • Mutual learning and collaboration among diverse stakeholders
  • Understand and respect other disciplines and their methodologies
  • Learning from other visions of reality to inform our own scientific understanding


UCCRI is hosted by the Department of Geography and the School of Physical Sciences, which provides administrative support for the work of the Institute. The centre director is Professor Bhaskar Vira and activities are coordinated by Hawa Newell-Sydique (Research and Communications Manager), and Carmyn De Jong (UCCRI Administrator).