Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Department Name: Directors and Science Coordinators

Abstract

The concepts behind Valuing Nature are coming of age, emerging from the Millennium Assessment, and in the UK the subsequent UK National Ecosystem Assessment and the Natural Environment & Water White Papers published in 2011. Valuing Nature necessitates the bringing together of a wide range of disciplines: including the natural and social sciences, economics and the humanities. It also requires engagement from a broad range of business and policy interests. This presents significant challenges in cross disciplinary working. Building on lessons learnt in the first phase of the Valuing Nature Network (and through our Programme Advisory Goard, the RELU and BESS programmes and the HOPE initiative), this proposal aims to provide an innovative set of activities that will extend beyond the more traditional conference formats to include a) interactive sessions that build a shared understanding of concepts and vocabularies; and b) themed activities in partnership with other major consortia and initiatives in this field (e.g. NW+) (WP 1). We will also engage with key business and policy stakeholders designing events using interactive formats such as a) surgery sessions; b) dialogue sessions and c) 'unconference' events. The emphasis here is on mutual information exchange and learning, and will again be delivered in partnership with such organisations as NCI, Eftec and the KTN (WP2). Finally, our last work package (WP3) provides the behind the scenes building blocks to deliver such an interdisciplinary programme, including programme management, communications, data management, web site, monitoring and evaluating programme activies, and establishing a longer term legacy for Valuing Nature.
The overarching aim of this programme is to provide the interdisciplinary science needed to put the value of nature at the core of the economy. This requires a truly integrated response to the research challenges posed involving the full range of constituents outlined in our proposal. If this is successfully implemented, then the impact of this research programme will be very significant in terms of the societal benefits it will bring.

Planned Impact

The concept of Natural Capital was given prominence in the Government's 2011 Natural Environment White Paper The Natural Choice. It was recognised that we need to better account for natural capital in the development of our economy and promote the sustainable use of the scarce resources on which we depend. Using physical and social sciences to understand and demonstrate the value of nature to human wellbeing is a key approach in this regard. Evidence is needed to reduce the fundamental conflict between the drive for economic growth and the health of the natural environment, and in addition to collating existing and creating new evidence, we also need to make that evidence more accessible to different users and stakeholder groups. This is the focus of the Valuing Nature Programme (VNP).
The Valuing Nature Network (VNN) laid the foundations for an interdisciplinary research community, with more than 1,200 members joining the network in its first two years from across a wide range of sectors. The VNP will build on these achievements through engagement, dialogue and communication with stakeholders and beneficiaries including, but not limited to:
1. Biodiversity: Ecosystems Knowledge Network (EKN), BESS research programme, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), NGO Biodiversity sector.
2. Economics: UK Network for Environmental Economists, Government Economic Service, Natural Capital Committee, The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), GLOBE International.
3. Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities: Nexus Network Plus, Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities.
4. Business: NC coalition (was TEEB4Business), EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform, Aldersgate Group, Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF), Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL).
5. Policy & Government: Smith School, Natural Capital Initiative, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its agencies, Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department of Health (DH), Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Technology Strategy Board, devolved governments and their agencies, European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).
6. Health: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), public health agencies in England and the devolved governments.
These groups represent stakeholders and users in the academic, business, government, and NGO sectors. They will benefit from the VNP through the development of a common language and goals for work involving natural capital, and through advances in methodologies and knowledge shared among different audiences. The VNP will foster interdisciplinary working resulting in successful research outcomes and the sharing of good practice in this area. It will lead to the strengthening of existing partnerships and the fostering of new ones. The programme will help to advance valuation analyses to allow the capture of the physical and social values associated with nature for both business and government. The VNP will inform policy development and decision-making, and illustrate how the ecosystem approach can be put into practice. These outcomes will allow the programme to contribute to changing the way we value nature in the UK, and enable us the share experience and innovation in this area across Europe and internationally. Ultimately the programme aims to benefit the general public through increases in the effectiveness of public services and policy, reduced environmental impact by more efficient use of nature by business and resulting increases in health and well-being.
 
Description NERC Careers Funding - to run Valuing Nature Business Impact School 2017 & Valuing Nature Placement Scheme 2017
Amount £190,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 07/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description NERC Innovation funding - Global Goals - Joining the Dots project
Amount £56,423 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description NERC Science Research
Amount £230,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Launched the Valuing Nature Programme Health and Wellbeing Call 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 1. Launched the Valuing Nature Programme Health & Wellbeing Call (July 2015). This built on a series of VN engagement activities to publicise the call, develop the VN transdisciplinary community and obtain input on research priorities from researchers, decision makers and business representatives. These included a web survey, a scoping meeting at the Royal Society (50 attendees) and the VN Business Interest Group meeting hosted by Willis in the City of London (17 attendees including Marks & Spencer, United Utilities, Welsh Water). Reports on research priorities and business interests were published on the VN website and used to inform the drafting of the call. The 120 attendees of the launch meeting included researchers from across the natural sciences, social & economic sciences, and arts & humanities, as well as research users. Networking activities at the event enabled people to find partnerships / placements / case studies / datasets. This opportunity was also available to people who could not attend the event through an "Offers Platform" on the VN website. over 180 offers were submitted and the idea for the Offers Platform was replicated by the BBSRC Global Food Security Programme. Videos of the launch presentations on the VN website were viewed 200 times.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://valuing-nature.net/health-wellbeing-funding-call
 
Description Organised Keynote Lecture at Defra on Rewilding 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team (primarily Prof Michael Winter of the University of Exeter) organised the a Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture on "Rewilding and the Uplands" at Defra in London on 22 September 2016. The lecture was given by Dr Paul Jepson from the University of Oxford. Dr Jepson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and Course Director of the Oxford MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. The 45 minute lecture was followed by responses from the following Panelists:
Michael Winter (Chair) - Professor of Land Economy and Society, and the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP). Member of Valuing Nature Programme Co-ordinating Team
Julia Aglionby - Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land.
Robin Milton - Exmoor farmer and Chair of the NFU Hill and Uplands Farming group.
Guy Duke - Member of Valuing Nature Programme Co-ordinating Team and Deputy Chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Around 80 delegates attended. The timing and venue were selected to follow on from a meeting of The Upland Alliance, so attendees included farmers and landowners, members of the public and defra staff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/event/valuing-nature-keynote-lecture-series-rewilding-and-uplands-london
 
Description Organised a meeting betweeen the Valuing Nature Business Interest Group and Valuing Nature researchers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team arranged a meeting between the seven Valuing Nature research projects and the Valuing Nature Business Interest Group (BIG) in January 2017. The research projects each presented their work, and BIG members then identified potential business interests related to each project, and contact details were exchanged. BIG attendees included representatives from Willmott Dixon, Wessex Water, Willis Towers Watson, United Utilities and Nestle. Specific business sectors with an interest in the Health & Wellbeing projects including port managers, water utilities, landowners, social care developers and providers, landscape architects and managers, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), insurance, tourism and recreation. Specific business sectors with an interest in the Tipping Point projects included peatland landowners and managers, infrastructure companies & businesses owning facilities vulnerable to flooding, insurers, farmers and water utilities. BIG members were supportive of PCT proposals to pursue funding to carry out "Business Impact Brokering" to provide coaching/brokering support to projects to foster business engagement and impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/business-interest-group
 
Description Organised the Valuing Nature Annual Conference 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team planned and ran the first Valuing Nature Annual Conference which was held in Manchester on 18 October 2016. It was attended by 170 people and provided the opportunity for researchers, practitioners, business and policy makers to share knowledge and research. The conference included presentations, interactive sessions, posters and networking opportunities. The topics covered included (i) Diverse approaches to valuing nature (ii) Research into new ways to understand nature's value and to communicate with different audiences (iii) Developments in research, policy and business drivers and the application of valuation information in practice.
Feedback from attendees was very positive (average score 8/10), particularly in terms of the balance of content and the diversity of researchers and research users who attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/valuing-nature-annual-conference-2016-0
 
Description Ran Naturally Healthy? workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Naturally Healthy? was a Valuing Nature event, delivered by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. This invitation only event for 40 people focused on assessing the value of the natural outdoors for public health purposes. It considered approaches to assessing the cost-effectiveness of addressing public health priorities through improved access to the natural outdoors. It brought together researchers in health economics with representatives of public health bodies and the national health service, with representatives from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Presentations and discussions addressed key issues and case studies, small group discussions considered how cost-effectiveness could be appraised, and a final panel discussion identified future research priorities. A report and webinar will be produced as outputs of the meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Ran Valuing Nature Business Impact School 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team (led by Guy Duke our Business Champion) organised the second Valuing Nature Business Impact School in London in March 2017. 25 Early Career Researchers attended the three day school to gain insight into producing research with business impact. Day 1 & 2 of the event was hosted by Willis Towers Watson in their meeting rooms on the 22nd Floor of the Willis Building in the City of London. Business speakers included representatives from Willmott Dixon, Interserve, Wessex Water, Greater London Authority, AECOM, eftec and Willis Towers Watson. Day 2 included a hands on session on Knowledge Exchange with business. Day 3 consisted of a tour of Windsor Great Park which has implemented a Natural Capital Accounting approach.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/sites/default/files/images/VNP%20BIS2%20Programme%20FINAL.pdf
 
Description Ran a Valuing Nature Stand at the NERC Into the Blue Public Engagement Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team designed and ran a stand at the NERC public engagement event in Manchester which was attended by over 5000 people. The stand provided an immersive experience where you were surrounded by real plants and could listen to birdsong and watch a video of a woodland scene. There was a visible affect on visitors who could be seen to relax as they experienced the natural environment. The stand provided a platform for the Valuing Nature projects to share their research, and provided an opportunity for visitors to consider "what is the value of nature to you?". The activities for children included valuing nature Bingo and leaf art competition, which both proved very popular. The added incentive of a gold chocolate coin as a reward for participation provided a further opportunity to consider different approaches to valuing nature! There has been interest from public engagement specialists and from NERC in rolling out the approach more widely.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/valuing-nature-nerc-blue
 
Description Ran a stand at British Ecological Society Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team ran a stand at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting in Liverpool in December 2016. The meeting was attended by c1600 ecologists. The stand provided an opportunity to showcase Valuing Nature research and to stimulate thinking by ecologists about Valuing Nature questions. The stand publicised opportunities to engage with Valuing Nature activities, especially the Business Impact School and Placement Scheme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2008,2016
 
Description Ran the Valuing Nature and Participatory Decision Making Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team (primarily Dr Robert Fish of the University of Kent) ran a "Valuing Nature and Participatory Decision Making Conference" on 19 & 20 July 2016, in Canterbury. This was a joint event with the University of Kent. It brought together over 80 natural and social scientists with practitioners to examine the interface between participatory approaches and valuation analyses. The conference asked: how might a participatory approach transform the way valuation analyses are carried out within research and practice? And, how might valuing nature agendas affect the way researchers and practitioners think and go about participation? The event will lead to a special edition of the international peer-reviewed journal Environmental Values.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/valpart
 
Description Valuing Nature Business Impact School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact From 2 March, the Valuing Nature Programme ran a three-day Business Impact School to provide early career researchers with an opportunity to gain insight into producing research with business impact. The Natural Environment Research Council funded this School to help develop a Valuing Nature research community with a broader understanding of how to translate research into private sector decision making and innovation.
The event was hosted by Willis Towers Watson in the City of London. Business speakers included Willis Towers Watson, Nestle, United Utilities, National Grid, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Aldersgate Group, Interserve, Intelligent Health and the Satellite Applications Catapult. Participants had opportunities to interact with speakers, including a 'hands-on' session on designing research for business impact.
The School included field trips to Windsor Great Park to see how natural capital accounting has been implemented, and to the National Grid Environmental Education Centre at Iver to see valuing nature-based education services in practice.
The 25 participants were current UK PhD students or have been recently awarded PhDs. Their areas of research interest include investment in ecosystem services from urban forests, links between ecological health and human health, and measuring the green economy.
Videos and presentations from the School will be available on the Valuing Nature website: valuing-nature.net. Activity from the School was be tweeted from @ValuingN #VNbis2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://valuing-nature.net/news/valuing-nature-business-impact-school-london-2-4-march-2016