Since the Programme was founded in 2008, Shared Challenges has run brainstorming workshops to bring groups of people together to introduce their work, exchange ideas and explore the potential for future collaboration. Topics discussed so far range from food security to habitat restoration and certification.
Some of these discussions led to further collaborative work. For example a brainstorming meeting to discuss climate change impacts on species in February 2011 and one to discuss IPBES in April 2011, led to successful applications for funding from CCI. Others, such as a workshop to discuss linkages between poverty and conservation in March 2012 and a discussion centred on certification and production in December 2011, were ‘one-off meetings’ that helped people to build up a picture of related work being carried out across CCI.
Similar discussions also brought people together to talk about current policy issues and funding calls. In July 2011, the Programme invited three speakers from JNCC, RSPB and Natural England to give a short presentation on the UK government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ in the Conservation Science Lab in the Department of Zoology. A combination of experts close to an issue followed by a general questions and answer session was shown to be a good template for future policy-related discussions.
The Programme also catalyzed two discussions in summer 2011 around two funding calls from NERC for BESS (Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Sustainability) and the Valuing Nature Network. The first of these meetings led to two of the CCI partners – RSPB and BTO – being included together with the Department of Geography in a successful bid to BESS, led by St Andrews University.