Announcing the 2023 Turner Fellow

30 August 2023

CCI is delighted to announce the 2023 Turner Fellow is Matthew Spencer, Global Director Landscapes at IDH. With support of the Turner Kirk Trust, CCI established the Turner Fellows Programme to engage influential individuals, with expertise in diverse fields such as economics, law, finance and public policy, to address complex conservation challenges and drive sustainable change.  

As the Turner Fellow, Matthew will play a key leadership role in the future of CCI’s global conservation efforts. Matthew will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration with business, policymakers and society in support of CCI’s strategic plan.

With a career spanning three decades, Matthew has an impressive record in brokering sustainable land use strategies between international commodity businesses, small farmers and government agencies in 22 landscapes across Asia, Africa and Latin America. He has held numerous leadership roles with Oxfam and Green Alliance and was a member of the UK Governments Renewable Advisory Board

Dr Patricia Turner, co-founder of the Turner Kirk Trust said: “It is an honour to announce Matthew as this year’s Turner Fellow. Matthew’s extensive knowledge of how sustainable practices are implemented in the real world will set him up well for the programme, and he will be an important asset to the CCI. I look forward to seeing his achievements and his impact on policy and practice during his fellowship and beyond.”

Professor William Sutherland, Chair, CCI Council said: “I am delighted that Matthew was selected for the Turner Fellowship. His extensive field knowledge and deep understanding of sustainable land use issues is highly relevant to the interests of the CCI community as we work to translate the Global Biodiversity Framework into practical approaches.”

During Matthew’s 12-month fellowship, he will conduct lectures, workshops and group discussions as part of a comprehensive programme. This includes periods of in-person residency in the David Attenborough Building with access to its resources and collaborative network.

Matthew Spencer said: “I’m very excited to work with some of the best brains in sustainability at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative to help identify why some things are working in tropical forest protection and restoration. If we can understand better what works we are in a much stronger position to win the battle for the future of the richest terrestrial ecosystems on earth. I hope to use my time as a Turner Fellow to begin to unravel that puzzle and make a contribution to accelerating the sustainable land use transition.”


For further information or questions, please contact Elizabeth Allen, CCI Collaborations and Engagement Manager,