GCBC Expert Advisory Group recruiting new members

GCBC Expert Advisory Group recruiting new members

GCBC Expert Advisory Group recruiting new members

What is the Evidence Advisory Group? 

The Evidence Advisory Group (EAG) comprises experts from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographies who provide an independent advice and assurance function to Defra for the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate programme. This includes impartial advice on research direction, quality assurance of research outputs, timely challenge to ongoing projects, and periodic review of the programme direction.   

Role Description 

We are looking for individuals who, as leaders in their field, can contribute at the highest levels and work effectively as part of a group. Our aim is to ensure the EAG is inclusive, diverse, and global. We will also particularly welcome applications from candidates based in Global South countries and institutions to improve the representation of Global South stakeholders in our decision making.

All the information about the requirements and process can be found in the recruitment pack on the EAG page.

How to Apply 

The application deadline is 11:59pm on 12 May 2024 and appointments will commence in June 2024, with a three-year term, reviewed annually.

See the Recruitment Pack for guidance and information on this recruitment.

Applications are to be submitted via email to: eag-gcbc@defra.gov.uk

We look forward to receiving your applications! 


GCBC Research Symposium 2024: fostering connections and learning

by Claudine Domingue, Communications & Engagement Manager, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

GCBC Phase 1 and RGC1 projects meet for knowledge sharing, learning and networking

Underpinning GCBC’s mandate to unlock the potential of nature to deliver resilience to climate change and improve livelihoods is the need for funded projects to explore scalable solutions and develop trans-disciplinary partnerships within the programme.

In its role as Strategic Science Lead for GCBC, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBG Kew) organized an all-day Research Symposium of talks and presentations to encourage collaboration between projects, hosting project leads from both established and newly funded projects. Representatives from the 14 projects who were funded as part of Phase 1 of the GCBC programme (2022 – 2024), as well as 13 projects announced as the recipients of the Research Grant Call1 (RGC1) funding in January 2024 were invited to attend.

The Research Symposium on 21 March 2024, also included staff from GCBC’s funding body – the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and Fund Management Lead DAI Global. With so many projects spread across the globe, we were fortunate to welcome many project representatives in person and several more were able to join online.

We were gifted with a beautiful spring day in which to congregate in Kew Garden’s historic Cambridge Cottage.

After a warm welcome from Kew’s Dr Monique Simmonds, OBE and Deputy Director of Science – Partnerships, the day officially began with insightful opening remarks from Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra.

Monique Simmonds with Gideon Henderson who reminded us all how urgently these programmes are needed and their potential benefits to us all.
l to r: Frida, Jessica, Constanza with Tim Wheeler.

Prof Tim Wheeler, newly appointed Deputy Director of International Science at Defra, spoke next and hosted the first panel of the day focussing on three of the seven projects awarded grant funding as part of Phase 1. These projects are identifying evidence gaps, new metrics, and policy options; with their outputs helping to shape GCBC’s priorities and guide future research and investments.

Joining him were Dr Constanza Gonzalez Parrao, Technical Lead on the Climate Change and Biodiversity Evidence Gap Map (based in Washington DC), Frida Diaz, Project Lead on the Nature Transition Support Programme (Columbia & Ecuador), and Dr Jessica Witt, Technical Lead on The Safe & Sustainable Food Systems (One Food) in South Africa.

Continuing with Phase 1 projects, the second panel of the morning was chaired by Dr Elizabeth Warham, Head of GCBC for Kew. These projects had focussed on research outcomes and impact for farmers and communities.

l to r: Richard, on stage with Elizabeth Warham, and Yves discuss the Bio+Mine project.
l to r: Richard, on stage with Elizabeth Warham, and Yves discuss the Bio+Mine project.
Carolina presents her project.









Speakers included two from the Biodiversity positive mining for the net zero challenge (Philippines), Prof Richard Herrington, Science Lead, and Yves Plancherel, Lead of the drone team. Kew’s Research leader in Ecosystem Stewardship, Dr Carolina Tovar, followed with her project, Realising the potential of plant bioresources as nature-based solutions in African biodiversity hotspots (Ethiopia).

Dr Elizabeth Cottier-Cook, Coordinator of Global Seaweed SUPERSTAR (Indonesia & Malaysia) and Dr Petr Sharov, Manager of Environmental Pollution Programme (Vietnam) also joined us remotely to talk about their work.

Helen is the Policy lead for Sexual Exploitation Abuse & Harassment (SEAH) Safeguarding for Defra ODA programmes.

Before our lunch break, Helen Poulsen, the Senior Social Development Adviser in Defra’s ODA Hub, gave us a thought-provoking presentation on the importance of considering gender equality and social inclusion as the GCBC grantees develop their projects.

After lunch – and for many, a stroll through Kew’s gardens – we returned for an afternoon of 5-minute flash talks by our newest grantees, facilitated by Samantha Morris, GCBC Project Manager for Kew. Ten of the 13 RGC1 projects attended both in-person and online giving us an informative overview of their upcoming work.

l to r: Bettina, Aster and Samantha listen to Mark Grindley’s talk online.

Joining us in person for these sessions, were Aster Gebrekistos (CIFOR-ICRAF) talking about Multifunctional agroforestry for Ethiopia and Bettina Heider (CIP) who spoke on Andean diversity for climate change (Peru & Ecuador).

Fiona Nunan (University of Birmingham) on Building adaptive fisheries governance capacity (Malawi & Uganda), Isabella Bovolo and Dr Anthony Brown (both University of Durham) presented on Enhancing coastal ecosystem services in Suriname and Guyana, and William Thompson (Oxford University) introducing his Flourishing Landscapes Programme in Ghana, Ecuador, and Vietnam.


l to r: Zuhail Thatey Mohamed (UNEP-WCMC), Lubasi Limweta (Oxford University).

Online we were pleased to meet Mark Grinley from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) with his project Following the Water in Madagascar, Stefano Barcheisi (Birdlife International) on Ecosystems services under climate change for Key Biodiversity Areas in Ecuador, and James Gibbons (Bangor University) on Habitat – harnessing smallholder pasture management for biodiversity in the Kenyan highlands.

l to r: Ryan Goldrick and Thomas Shaw (Defra), Subira Bjørnsen (Cadmus), Edward Gould (Defra).


Defra’s Jamie Carr, Bettina, and Aster – who travelled from Peru and Ethiopia for the symposium – chat during a break.









As Strategic Science Lead for GCBC, one of Kew’s goals is to encourage and nurture collaboration and learning within project groups and between research projects, and, by every measure, the research symposium achieved that result.

Our thanks to all the symposium participants and our Defra and DAI partners who attended.

All funded projects are listed here on the GCBC website: Projects – GCBC

* The GCBC is funded by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with International Climate Finance and managed in partnership with DAI as Fund Management Lead. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is the Strategic Science Lead.  

** All photos ©RBGKew


The GCBC Research Grant Competition 2 (RGC2) is now officially open for applications!

The Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) is a UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme that funds research into nature-based solutions to climate change and poverty reduction.

We are pleased to announce the official launch of the GCBC second Research Grant Competition (RGC2)!

Theme – Unlocking Nature: Driving innovation in how biodiversity can support climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods through practice and governance

For this call, we are looking for project concepts with a total budget between £100k and £1m (GBP) and a duration of 12 – 36 months, commencing from November 1, 2024. There is scope for different sizes (£100k-£250k; £250k-£500k; £500-£750k; £750-£1m) depending on the type or nature of the research to be funded. This will range from the smaller desk-based and locally focused projects to larger initiatives with research replicated in different localities/ countries and upscaling/ replicating proven solutions in an innovative approach.

GCBC invites project concept submissions that focus their research at the intersection of the GCBC’s three focus areas:

  • Climate change
  • Livelihoods and poverty alleviation
  • Biodiversity

The call will fund a portfolio of projects in ODA-eligible countries in the programme’s three focus regions (Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa), including Small Island Developing States (SIDS); which address the evidence gaps and from which the learning, solutions, tools, and methodology can be upscaled and replicated in other regions or countries.

We are looking for submissions that include novel and innovative approaches and project proposals relevant to the overarching theme and related sub-themes. View the Theme Paper

Throughout the application period, potential applicants are invited to join our informative webinars.

Register here for our next webinar

Applications are now officially open! The closing date for receipt of applications for Stage 1 is 17:00hrs GMT on March 17th, 2024.

Apply Now

Related resources:

Theme paper: This paper sets out the rationale and background for the theme of the second GCBC Research Grant Competition (RGC2) and the sub-themes where there are opportunities for interventions, that can make a difference in applying a systems approach. View the Theme Paper

Research strategy: This Research Strategy sets out the vision through the theory of change and ambition for a systems approach (Section 2) for the GCBC programme to ensure that new scientific evidence, knowledge and partnerships developed support the poor directly or indirectly, with improved livelihoods and resilience to climate change, while sustainably managing and using biodiversity. View the Research Strategy

RGC2 Stage 1 – ITA Overview: Download here

Project Concept Note Form (offline copy): Download here

GCBC Privacy Policy: Download here

RGC2 List of Eligible Countries: Download here

Webinar resources:

Webinar 1: Introducing the RGC2 theme (January 22, 29)

Download the webinar recording here

Download the slide deck here

Webinar 2: Walkthrough the RGC2 concept note, application process, & e-platform (February 5)

Download the webinar recording here

Download the slide deck here

Webinar 3: Partnerships (February 21)

Download the slide deck here 






Grant announcement: Unlocking the potential of nature to deliver climate solutions and improve livelihoods

The Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) – a UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme that funds research into nature-based solutions to climate change and poverty reduction announced its first round of successful grant applicants today. This first round of grant calls closed in July 2023 and 13 successful applicants were selected from a total of 155.

According to the World Economic Forum, nearly half of the global gross domestic product depends on nature, and yet biodiversity is disappearing quicker than at any time throughout history. A 2019 IPBES report found that around 1 million plant and animal species are currently threatened with extinction. Biodiversity also plays an important role in generating and contributing to local livelihoods; rural and indigenous people and local communities are particularly dependent on nature for their livelihoods. The conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity, therefore, has tremendous potential to regulate the environment, contribute to improved livelihoods, and ensure a more habitable planet for current and future generations.

This new research and development grant portfolio has a £9.3 million budget allocated to 13 organizations across 16 countries. Through this first round of grant awards, the GCBC expects to research the evidence gaps related to 1) key pressures causing serious negative impacts to livelihoods, nature and climate; 2) enablers of change (both incremental and systemic) contributing to the implementation of evidence-based policy and decision-making by policymakers, investors and practitioners, to strengthen the science-policy-practice interface and adoption of solutions; 3) solutions and interventions – through science, nature and knowledge combined by identifying what works, where, why and for whom; and 4) the importance of systems approaches in tackling complex problems and the need to integrate appropriate solutions to achieve lasting transformative change across different sectors and regions.

“We are very excited to announce the first round of grant award recipients through the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) in partnership with RBG Kew and DAI Global UK. This is a significant milestone and the first step towards delivering climate solutions for vulnerable populations by working in partnership with organizations across the Global South to harness nature’s potential to enhance climate resilience and improve livelihoods,” Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 “We are delighted to work in partnership with Defra and DAI Global UK to bring together an international network of research institutions and experts, with the aim of fostering new inter- and intra-disciplinary partnerships. At Kew, we know how vital the potential of nature-based solutions are in improving the livelihoods of marginalized and vulnerable populations. In our role as Strategic Science Lead and with these collaborations sharing knowledge and best practice, we hope to deliver the evidence needed to inform policy and interventions that sustainably conserve and use biodiversity for climate resilience and poverty reduction,” Prof. Monique Simmonds OBE, Deputy Director Science – Partnerships, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

“We welcome the opportunity, working with Defra and Kew, in our role as Fund Management Lead to support the delivery of the different portfolios of research projects funded to meet the ambition of the GCBC programme. This will involve ensuring that the design and implementation of all projects delivers the key outcomes for climate solutions and improved livelihoods through regular monitoring and learning,” Kelmend Kavaja, Team Leader, DAI.

Through this first round of research grants, the GCBC will work in partnership with scientists, academics, and research institutions on nature-based solutions related to the biodiversity-climate-livelihoods nexus that can improve climate mitigation and adaptation, reduce biodiversity loss and climate migration, and protect the most vulnerable, especially those across the Global South, who are impacted by climate change the most.

Find the first round of successful grantees below:

The University of Oxford

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

University of Durham

University of Birmingham

Nature Kenya

Bangor University

International Centre for Research in Agroforestry

Birdlife International

International Institute for Environment and Development

International Potato Center

Corporación de Investigación y Acción social y económica (CIASE)

Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)


About GCBC

The Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) is a UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) research and development programme that funds research to unlock the potential of nature to provide climate solutions and improve livelihoods.

By working in partnership with scientists, academics, and research institutions in the Global South, we seek to develop scalable approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that delivers resilience to climate change and improves the livelihoods of the poor.

The GCBC is funded by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs working in partnership with DAI Global as the Fund Manager Lead and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as the Strategic Science Lead.



Coming soon in January 2024: GCBC Research Grant Competition 2 Info Webinar series

The Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) is thrilled to introduce its second Research Grant Competition (RGC2), which will be launched in February 2024. This round invites research applications focusing on ‘Unlocking Nature – Driving innovation in how biodiversity can support climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods through practice and governance.’

Leading up to RGC2’s official launch and throughout the application period, potential applicants are invited to join our informative webinars (starting the week of January 22nd, 2024). These webinars will delve into the competition theme, outline eligibility criteria, and provide details on RGC2 including the application and evaluation process.

Register for the first pre-launch webinar HERE .

We particularly encourage potential grant applicants from the Global South to attend. Organisations with a proven track record in addressing poverty reduction, gender equality, and social inclusion within the context of biodiversity conservation are strongly encouraged to apply.

Stay updated on RGC2 and our webinar series by subscribing to the GCBC newsletter on our website by clicking the subscribe button towards the end of this page, or follow us on X at @gcbc_org or on LinkedIn

Cefas: New Initiatives Tackle the Challenges of Making Food Truly Sustainable

This article was originally published on cefas.co.uk on 9th November 2023

A new paper published today sets out a vision for incorporating the fundamentals of sustainability into the design of entire food systems. The paper, Operationalising One Health for Food Systems, published in the journal One Earth, describes the challenges of producing food that is safe, nutritious, economically viable, equitable and environmentally benign across a country’s food system.

The paper argues that the main challenge to sustainable food systems is in dealing with the many hazards associated with the food supply chain, stretching from those that limit supply – like pests, pathogens or chemical contamination – through to the ways that food production drives environmental degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions or fertilisers that damage river biodiversity.

(Image credit: One Earth, Cell Press)

One food wheel diagram.

Hazard control mainly happens inside of individual food sectors like maize crops, beef husbandry or prawn aquaculture, with little attention to how these sectors link and to how the hazards might spread between the sectors. Assessing each hazard individually is also problematic because it will not give the whole picture on their combined impacts on food supply or the environment. Crucially, we also lack the methods to look across all hazards and food sectors, to make informed decisions on which to prioritise.

The answer to this, according to the authors, lies in applying One Health principles to the whole food system. One Health is a concept that aims to optimise the health of humans, animals, plants and ecosystems, with each being equally important. Our paper proposes a ‘One Food’ approach where all food sectors are considered together, incorporating all hazards and the links between them.

The paper is an initiative of the One Food programme, a collaboration between the UK and South African governments, with partners from academia, intergovernmental organisations, industry and NGOs. The programme is developing a food risk tool that combines hazards across food sectors to identify and prioritise intervention strategies. It also examines the policy changes that will be needed to allow a food systems approach to be achieved and how stakeholders can take the movement forward.

Here at Cefas we understand well how land and sea are connected and that the food we produce must balance safety and adequate supply against environmental protection. We are delighted to bring together colleagues from across the food spectrum.

Neil Hornby, Chief Executive of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Programme Lead)

This paper sets out our ambition for a future where animal and plant health experts work alongside environmental and social specialists to solve pressing food problems.

Ian Brown, Director of Scientific Services at the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency, the UK programme co-leads

The topic is discussed in the first of the new Cefas Unchatted Waters podcast series, where Cefas’ Chief Scientist, Professor Grant Stentiford and the One Food lead Dr Julie Bremner consider how these principles can be applied to produce safe and sustainable seafood. The programme will present its work in the 2nd One Food Community Forum on the 28th of November 2023 which is open for registrations currently on the One Food Community website. The One Food programme is funded by the Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate (GCBC) which is a UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) research and development programme that funds research into natural solutions to climate change and poverty.

Kew Gardens: State of the World’s Plants and Fungi Symposium programme

Tackling the nature emergency: Evidence, gaps and priorities

In conjunction with the publication of a groundbreaking report, scientists, policymakers, businesses, NGOs, the public and media will come together for the fifth international State of the World’s Symposium.

Plants and fungi are the building blocks of our planet, with the potential to solve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. But the vital resources and services they provide depend on diverse, healthy ecosystems. The future of these ecosystems, and life as we know it, hinges on the decisions we make today.

In October 2023 we will be publishing, in collaboration with international researchers, the fifth in our series of State of the World’s Plants and Fungi reports. The report takes a deep dive into our current knowledge on plant and fungal diversity and distribution – what we know, what we don’t know and where we need to focus our efforts.

This three-day hybrid symposium brings together experts to discuss findings presented in the report and to identify actions for understanding and protecting the world’s plant and fungal diversity. The discussions will be used to create a declaration containing a shared agreement and action plan for where scientific institutions aim to focus their collecting and research efforts to achieve the targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.


Date and time: 11 to 13 October 2023, daily timings vary

Location: Kew Gardens and online (hybrid event)

Regional Climate Weeks

In the lead-up to the first global stocktake, that will be concluded at COP28 in UAE in December of this year, the Regional Climate Weeks (RCWs) are taking place throughout the world offer a forum for policymakers, practitioners, businesses, and civil society to engage in discussions about climate solutions. The RCWs rally diverse stakeholders from the public and private sectors around a shared mission to combat climate change.

Annually, RCWs are conducted in four regions: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Northern Africa. They encompass a series of events that offer a grassroots forum for the exchange of knowledge and best practices within the region on crucial topics such as the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Global Climate Action (GCA).

Dates and Locations