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Conservation Research Institute


More and more universities are embracing interdisciplinary research, recognising that it is vital for tackling complex global problems. 

However, interdisciplinary working is yet to become embedded in academia. Conventional academic systems are not designed to support interdisciplinary research, and traditional structures tend to reward and encourage individual achievement within disciplinary boundaries. 

The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI; is hosting international leaders at a workshop in Cambridge on 29 & 30 May 2019, focusing on how institutions can mainstream new ways to measure and recognise work that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, targeted at institutional leadership. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope will address this meeting on 30 May.

The University of Cambridge are working on new approaches to interdisciplinarity and collaboration by establishing cross School initiatives that have demonstrated a critical mass of academic support, called Strategic Research Initiatives and Interdisciplinary Research Centres.

These initiatives address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges; strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines; increase research capacity and profile by providing a platform for large-scale funding applications, recruitment and international research partnerships; and enhance our ability to influence national and international research, policy and funding agendas.

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 – the world’s leading cluster of conservation research for policy and practice.

UCCRI is part of a new, multi-university network called Beyond the Academy, which is led by the University of Minnesota, and brings together a group of innovators, who are striving to support interdisciplinarity within their institutions and are leaders in sustainability science. This is funded byNAKFI, the US National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.  The project runs from November 2018 - October 2020. More details of the network are available at this link: