The Leverhulme Trust has awarded £10 million to a new Oxford nature recovery centre which aims to investigate how to halt and reverse ongoing nature and biodiversity loss.

A new Oxford-based Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery has been announced as one of three UK research centres established with the Leverhulme Trust 2021 award. The centre, led by Professor Yadvinder Malhi, will receive £10 million in funding over 10 years from the award, as well as £5 million in co-funding from the University of Oxford, to support cross-disciplinary research.

The Leverhulme Trust award was designed to encourage high-risk, interdisciplinary research, which would reshape or establish a field of study and “transform our understanding of a significant contemporary topic.”

The new Oxford centre will undertake research that aims to help halt and reverse the ongoing loss and degradation of nature and its biodiversity. It aims to harness new technologies to deliver nature recovery at scale and monitor the progress of this recovery.

Through implementing a range of interdisciplinary studies covering various dimensions of nature recovery, the centre will develop scenarios of nature recovery in key landscapes. It will also experiment with “innovative methods” of funding nature recovery. In addition, the University website states that the centre will establish long-term nature recovery experiments in the local Oxford landscape. 

The work will focus on case study landscapes in the UK and the Global South, and will work with a range of international partners in Ghana, Malaysia, Peru and Bangladesh.

Professor Malhi, who will work with co-directors including Professor Nathalie Seddon and Professor Michael Obersteiner, has stated that: “There has never been more awareness of the urgency of restoring nature in our landscapes, our lives and our economic aspirations. I am incredibly excited for Oxford to have been awarded this Centre.”

The other recipients of the Leverhulme Research Centre 2021 award are Leverhulme Research Centre for the Holobiont at  Imperial College London and Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe at the University of Cambridge.