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.