NRG BESS Committee are looking for volunteers!

Are you interested in outreach, communications, or events planning?

Check out the current committee and our unfilled roles here: Being part of the committee is a great way to get involved in the NRG BESS network and add some points to your CV – everyone is welcome, PhD, post-doc, old member, or new!

Roles are flexible and can be shared to allow you to get involved with different areas of NRG BESS. If you’re interested in being part of the committee, or just want to chat about what it might involve, then get in touch with any of the current committee members or email

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Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet

Dieter Helm’s latest book ‘Natural Capital – Valuing the Planet’ has just been published.


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ialeUK postgraduate workshop

Engaging landscape ecology – stakeholder analysis and participatory methods.

The University of Reading 10-11th June.

This workshop will be an opportunity for students to learn a wide range of different techniques for analysing and interacting with stakeholders in landscape ecology. Participants will gain an understanding of how to engage different groups of stakeholders, and why and how their involvement can improve the impact of research on planning and policy. Partners from JNCC, UNEP-WCMC, University of St. Andrews, University of Edinburgh and Countryscape will put the training into a management and policy context.

This 2-day course is designed for all postgraduate students who are interested or are already involving stakeholders in their research. The cost is £45 for ialeUK members and £80 for non-members. We are also pleased to announce that there are travel awards are available for registered students. See the leaflet or check out the website  to read more and register!

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Business skills competition: join the NRG BESS team!

Grey Squirrel on a branch

Those squirrels don’t stand a chance… CreativeCommons:

Increase your ingenuity in 2015! The Environment YES competition is open for entry from teams of 4-5 early career environmental researchers (PhD students and 1st or 2nd postdoc appointment) at UK universities.

The three day residential workshops provide a fantastic training in business awareness and entrepreneurship. They are also a lot of fun and are free!  Teams decide on an idea that might work as a business (e.g. squirrel contraception) and work with mentors to develop and then pitch a business plan.

We are forming an NRG BESS team.  The team application deadline is the 29th May.  Please contact by the 22nd May if you would like to join or find out more.


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BESS workshop on resilience 18th – 19th June 2015

The 2 day BESS workshop ‘Understanding resilience, thresholds and tipping points‘ will be held at Charles Darwin house, London on 18-19 June 2015.

The workshop will explore ways of rigorously defining and measuring resilience in systems and establish to produce collaborative publications in this area.

The workshop is open to individuals working on a BESS project, with a maximum of 3 individuals from each project to include at least one early career researcher.

Download full details of the programme (PDF)  

If you wish to take part  please email Phil Martin –

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PDRA opportunity on earthworm ecology and ecosystem services

The University of York needs a postdoctoral researcher with chemical/ecological experience to work in the broad area of earthworm ecology and ecosystem services.  This post will support Professor Hodson’s research whilst he is Head of Department and will complement and extend existing NERC funded projects.

More details

You will have:

  • a PhD in a relevant discipline with a significant experimental and analytical component or equivalent experience
  • experience in one or more of the following: soil analysis/earthworm ecology/quantification of ecosystem services
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • the ambition and initiative to identify and pursue exciting research opportunities

The post is available for a period of 46 months from November 2015.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Mark Hodson (

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AHRC workshop and funding opportunity for postdoctoral stage researchers

Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

20th and 21st May 2015

The aim of this ECR Workshop is to bring together early career researchers to identify key future opportunities for inter-disciplinary research under the topic ‘The Lived Environment’, within the AHRC ‘s Science in Culture theme.

The AHRC is looking to invite early career researchers from a wide range of arts and humanities research disciplines, and from a wide range of science disciplines, as well as relevant practice-based research contexts with an interest in this topic.

The workshop is designed to give ECRs the opportunity to network outside of their current research organisations, sectors and disciplines and to facilitate the development of initial ideas for future research which could lead to applications for collaborative Innovation Awards (or under other funding streams).

The AHRC is looking for ECR applicants who are interested in taking part in a highly participative, interactive and open workshop which seeks to make new connections between arts and humanities researchers and scientists and demonstrate the capacity to contribute to the development of the Science in Culture Theme.

Funding Opportunity

Successful applicants to attend the ECR workshop will have a follow up opportunity to apply for closed Innovation Award funding (up to £80,000 Full Economic Costing (FEC)) under the Science in Culture theme.

Closing Date  

4pm on Friday 10th April

Call Document

 The Call Document for this workshop is available to download here.

How to make an application

Applicants should complete an Expression of Interest application through SmartSurvey (opens in new window), which will require the submission of a EoI document including supporting statement and a CV.

Further information on the workshop, eligibility criteria and applying to attend is found within the call document (PDF 164KB, opens in a new window).


If you have any queries about this call for expressions of interest or the ECR Workshop, please contact Ian Broadbridge at AHRC at

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NRG BESS volunteers for 2015

Coordinators2015VerticalMany thanks to our NRG BESS founding officers Kate Wade, Lydia Bach, Sarah Pogue and Sarwar Hossain, who are handing over to a new team of volunteer coordinators for 2015.   You can get in touch with them at  The team roles and aims for 2015 were decided at the NRG Next Steps meeting.  The NRG network depends on volunteers and there will be various ways to help the coordinators during this year with only a small time commitment!

Siân de Bell is the new communications coordinator, responsible for keeping members in touch and overseeing our social media activity.  Zoe Holden will be helping Siân to arrange blog posts.

The joint workshop coordinators are Stephen Watson and Marian Pye, so they will be organising events during 2015, with publicity help from Leila Tavallali.

Leila Tavallali and Lydia Bach will be seeking further funding for NRG BESS activities and planning for the future of the network beyond 2017.

Laura Harrison is the link with the BESS directorate and will be supporting NRG outreach activities.  Laura is also a point of contact for the particular needs of post-docs and technicians.

There were no nominations for a website manager, but Sarah Pogue and Kate Wade have kindly offered to continue to help with the website.  The secretary position is also vacant, so this role will be picked up by the rest of the team.

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News archive 2014

December 2014

IMG_3241On the 24th November members of NRG BESS met to discuss the ‘next steps’ for the group at the AGM in York. Short and long term aims were discussed for the group.  Alongside this a revised structure for the Development Committee was designed and should ensure the successful implementation of these goals. A summary of the meeting can be found here: NRG BESS Next Steps Meeting Summary. The meeting also provided a great chance to welcome some of the new members in person and for older members to update one another on their research.FilmTraining1 -TomHolmes

Following the meeting a training day was held and provided all members a chance to get hands on experience in filming and interviewing one another. In addition to this training on participatory GIS was provided.

November 2014

Postdoctoral researchers are of inestimable value to the BESS programme, but the postdoctoral stage also poses many challenges. The BESS directorate has produced a guidance note on developing our postdoctoral community.  The note aims to highlight best practice when managing postdoctoral researchers in order to support their continuing professional development:

NRG BESS has reached 50 members!  Welcome to our latest members Ben TaylorKate Simpson and Carla-Leanne Washbourne.  We are all early career researchers working on BESS goals or related research on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

zoeCongratulations to NRG BESS member Zoe Holden on being awarded a NERC/BBSRC/AHRC policy internship at the Government Office for Science.  Take a look at Zoe’s blog.

Paper Makers: bringing science to life through art  We’re really excited about Lydia Bach’s project that brings together early career artists and scientists to explore questions about human impacts on biodiversity.  The artists and scientists will be working together to creatively interpret a scientific paper.  Paper Makers is funded by the British Ecological Society.

October 2014

YorNight Ian MartindaleNRG BESS members Phoebe MortonSian de Bell and Laura Harrison discussed the benefits we get from nature with visitors to the European researchers’ night YorNight.  Together with the urban pollution monitoring research programme CAPACITIE, we created a map showing the most and least valued places for nature around York.

September 2014

NRGBESS14 group photo crop

On September 8th – 10th NRG BESS held its first Early Career Researcher Conference on Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Sustainability at the University of Southampton, sponsored by BESS, Geography & Environment at UoS and Sustainability Science at Southampton.

The event was a success with close to 60 delegates from all over the UK as well as the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Brazil and Bangladesh. There was plenty of opportunity to hear about exciting research from the twenty-four ECRs who gave talks and the twenty who presented posters, as well as our three keynote speakers Prof Georgina Mace (UCL), Prof Katrina Brown (University of Exeter) and Dr Sandra Nogué (University of Oxford). Furthermore, the breakout session “Future Directions” highlighted the essential research questions that the next research generation thinks science and society must tackle.  There was also a very popular introduction to Arc GIS training day.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and so we hope that this is just the beginning and that next year will see an even bigger and better NRG BESS Conference 2015!

– Sarah Pogue (Conference Officer 2014)

July 2014

BESS_BeabeeWhen le tour came to Yorkshire, visitors at the York Grand Dèpart also saved coastal ‘villages’ from flooding and collected enough ‘nectar’ to see three ‘bee hives’ through the winter.  The estimated 2000 visitors to the University of York marquee were taking part in the ‘love your salt marsh’ and ‘be a bee’ activities designed and run by NRG BESS members.

Salt marsh participants used their chocolate coins to make choices about hard and soft coastal defences – getting only slightly soggy in the process.  ‘Be a bee’ participants foraged amongst other activities for nectar and pollen with their bee syringes, inadvertently pollinating various fruit crops.

Further activities related to water quality and urban ecosystem services are also being developed.  Activity instructions will be available to download from and   For further information about NRG BESS knowledge exchange activities please contact


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