£10M Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity announced

News | Posted on Friday 11 January 2019

The Leverhulme Trust Board has announced it will fund up to £10 million over the next 10 years to establish a new centre for research on biodiversity change at the University of York.

The Centre was one of three successful bids in the 2018 Leverhulme Research Centre awards. Other recipients are at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford. 

The Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity will explore the different scientific, social and cultural perspectives on the Anthropocene, during a time of biological gains as well as losses, and human benefits as well as harms.

Professor Chris Thomas, Director of the new Centre, said: “The Centre will bring together world-leading researchers to understand the neglected societal and biological processes that underpin biodiversity gains, in addition to examining the causes and consequences of losses. 

“A deep understanding of the cultural as well as biological processes that drive changes to the world’s biodiversity is needed if humanity is to live sustainably on our planet.”

The Centre will also benefit from expertise across the University, including researchers from the Departments of Archaeology; Biology; Computer Science; English; Environment; Health Sciences; History; Maths; Philosophy; Politics; Psychology; and Sociology.

YESI supported the bid to the Leverhulme Trust throughout its development, working closely with the University’s Research and Innovation Development Team and the Director to produce the proposal budget and develop operational procedures for the Centre. Members of the YESI community have also been involved in shaping the programme’s research goals, including the YESI Director, Professor Sue Hartley who is a co-applicant on the proposal and will be leading the Biological Sustainability and Ecosystem specialism.

She commented, “I’m tremendously excited to be involved in the new Centre – it’s a fantastic opportunity for novel research and the Centre’s interdisciplinary and cross-departmental ethos is exactly the approach YESI enthusiastically supports.”