Biodiversity conservation is one of the defining issues of our age, and the UK government has made clear its ambition for global leadership in this area; for example by initiation of the Leaders' Pledge for Biodiversity, by commitment to deforestation-free supply chains in the Environment Bill, and in its ambitious 25-year Environment Plan. UK universities lead the world in interdisciplinary conservation science; in research, training and capacity-building.
Based in the UK, the Conservation And Sustainability Consortium of AcaDEmic institutions (CASCADE) brings together organisations working on finding solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, the biodiversity crisis. We believe that only through sharing resources and knowledge and acting in partnership with other research institutions, government agencies, NGOs and industry will we be able to work towards finding solutions to issues of global significance.
To use the UK’s unique expertise in people-orientated conservation science to support the development of principles, policies and practices that meet CBD goals in the UK and partner countries in an equitable, socially-just and inclusive way.
We will achieve our vision through a network of UK and international partner institutions carrying out innovative inter- and transdisciplinary research and education on conservation policy and practice, allowing us to discover, devise and disseminate the actions required for transformational change in biodiversity conservation whilst helping train and support the next generation of conservation scientists.
The UK’s higher education institutions (HEIs) lead the world in interdisciplinary conservation science; in research, training and capacity-building. This density of excellence is bolstered by a concentration of international conservation NGO headquarters, and world-leading zoos and botanic gardens. This means that the UK’s research and training directly informs and builds the capability of international conservation policy and practice. We are leveraging and bolstering this existing strength by developing an integrated network of UK academic institutions. CASCADE aims to be a multi-institution one-stop-shop for interdisciplinary work to support the UK’s ambition to provide global leadership in biodiversity conservation. CASCADE will raise the global profile of the UK’s research and knowledge exchange capacity, and will provide a coordinated pathway for national and international transdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in conservation science.
Our consortium brings together expertise from the humanities and the natural and social sciences, providing a platform for the integrated interdisciplinary approach required to tackle the complex challenges posed by global environmental change. Our members work on biodiversity conservation in ODA-eligible countries, the UK and its Overseas Territories, and share a strong commitment to international knowledge exchange and capability-building for future generations of conservation scientists. Together we work with a huge and diverse network of end-users in the UK and internationally.
The CASCADE model is an inclusive one; any UK-based HEI can participate, so long as they have an active and policy-engaged research presence within at least one of our policy priority areas. Although the core Management Team and Steering Group will be made up of people working directly in interdisciplinary conservation science, they will draw upon their Institution’s expertise in a range of other disciplines (including for example, economics and finance, development studies, history and philosophy, public policy, ecology and geography). The inclusion of non-university HEIs (including RBG Kew and the Institute of Zoology) provides additional research and engagement capability.