Thursday, 19 November 2009

Catchment management positions at the Macaulay Institute closing date 27th November 2009

Senior catchment modeller, environmental biogeochemist, environmental ecological economist, hydrologist, environmental scientist and environmental data coordinator.

CatSci final conference 2nd December 2009

Final reminder for conference to be held on 2 December at The Showroom in Sheffield, entitled "Contribution of research to Catchment Management". Find out how our Marie Curie Fellows have increased the understanding of the connections and interactions between the different catchment components, and spend a pleasant day with other people who are involved with catchment management.

I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Jenny Chambers PA to Prof D N Lerner Kroto Research Institute North Campus Broad Lane Sheffield S3 7HQ Tel 0114 222 5725Fax 0114 222 5701.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Nature paper: A safe operating space for humanity

A recent feature in the journal Nature (Rockstrom et al. 24th Sept 2009) has highlighted critical biophysical thresholds that could have disastrous consequences for humanity. Disturbance of the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles aretwo key aspects.

Friday, 17 April 2009

IWAM policy driven focus-group learning session on Buffer strips

We recently held a policy driven focus-group learning session in support of a Defra consultation on agricultural buffer strips. The aim of the session was oo provide Defra staff with expert and practical advice on the science of buffer strip design, performance (for diffuse substances e.g. nutrients, particles and PPP) and management.

NeWater Curriculum

Useful series of online courses on Adaptive River basin Management.
The NeWater Project Announces:
*Teaching Adaptive Water Management
A Training Course for Instructors*

12-14 May 2009
UN Campus, Bonn, Germany

Hosted by the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security

The two-day training course is intended to familiarize university instructors with the teaching material provided in the Online Curriculum - Adaptive River Basin Management.

The course will focus on both content of the modules, as well as the use of the materials in designing new programmes or incorporating these into the teaching curricula of the instructors who participate in the course. In addition, participants will learn about approaches to and methods for teaching Adaptive Water Management.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Prof Beddington presentation at SDUK09

Prof Beddington (UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor) presented his take on the challenges we face nationally and globally at the Sustainable Development UK Conference,his presentation is now available.
" I will leave you with some key questions. Can nine billion people be fed? Can we cope with the demands in the future on water? Can we provide enough energy? Can we do it, all that, while mitigating and adapting to climate change? And can we do all that in 21 years time? That's when these things are going to start hitting in a really big way. We need to act now. We need investment in science and technology, and all the other ways of treating very seriously these major problems. 2030 is not very far away. "

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Video interview with Robert Chambers from IDS on Learning

Robert Chambers from the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) is one of the pioneers of participatory approaches for sustainable agriculture and development. Interview done in Cali in April 2008, during the Learning Laboratory Meeting. Produced by Cristina Douthwaite.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Charles Francis: Future active learning for agroecology

Charles Francis (Univ. of Nebraska) is a leading expert on improving learning for sustainable agriculture. In 2006 he gave University of Alberta Bentley Lecture on Sustainable Agriculture Lecture No. 4 Learning for the Future: Preparing for Complexity, Uncertainty, and Sustainability. In a recent paper in the Agronomy Journal (vol 100, issue 3, 2008; Transdisciplinary Research for a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sector C. A. Francis,* G. Lieblein, T. A. Breland, L. Salomonsson, U. Geber, N. Sriskandarajah, and V. Langer) Charles et al., highlight their success with an Agroecology masters programme in Norway.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Policy foresight programme at the James Martin 21st Century School

As part of the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford, Crispin Tickell is coordinating and producing invaluable summaries from the Policy Foresight Programme on issues of science, technology, and the environment to identify leverage points in current policy that could have significant long-term benefits for civilization.
Two relevant and fascinating workshops were:
A new look at the interaction of scientific models and policy making
James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford University13/02/08
Can Britain Feed Itself? Should Britain Feed Itself?
James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford University15/10/08

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Stockholm Seminars: Frontiers in Sustainability Science and Policy

These are a fascinating set of seminars from leading experts. I have just watched Will Steffen's call for new approaches to science based on the complex problem's we face. Will makes a case for systems approaches that include participatory research, deal with scale in a fluid manner and use transdisciplinary teams.

Environment magazine series: 20 years into our common future

As part of a series of articles by leading experts, Malin Falkenmark reviews progress with water related sustainability. Highlighting the need for greater integration between management of land and water. "The series takes as a starting point the six common challenges identified in the original report: population and human resources, food security, species and ecosystems, energy, industry, and the urban challenge. Although the Brundtland report did not cover the challenges associated with water as a specific chapter, in recognition of water’s critical role in the welfare and health of our planet’s people and ecosystems, Environment has added an article to this series examining water’s role in sustainable development."

"Together, these four actions—population stabilization, seriously intended pollution abatement, water-based balancing of green and blue water requirements for social and environmental purposes, and preparedness for mega-scale food trade expansion from water-rich to water-short countries—will form the building blocks to a responsible approach to sustainability."

Malin Falkenmark is professor of applied and international hydrology, guest professor at the Stockholm Resilience Center, and senior scientific advisor at the Stockholm International Water Institute.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Conference on Wicked Governance 10th March

Conference Programme
l ‘Wicked’ Thinking for Water Resource Management – Laurence Smith, SOAS
l Are Water and Sanitation Problems ‘Wicked’? – Dr Frances Cleaver, SOAS
l What is Governance? How Can Water Governance Be Improved? – Prof Tony Allan, SOAS and King’s College, London
l Water Governance and Water Law Principles: Synergies and Tensions – Dr Philippe Cullet, SOAS
l Public Participation in Trans-boundary Water Governance: What Can We Learn From the
Volta River Basin in West Africa? – Dr Sam Wong, University of Leeds
l Building Capabilities for Adaptive Integrated Water Resources Management in
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa – Dr John Colvin, Open University
l Integrated Water Management: How to Deal with Household Water Needs – Dr Jeroen Ensink, LSHTM
l Access to Safe Water in the Slums of the Developing World – Dr Hulya Dagdeviren and Simon Robertson,
University of Hertfordshire
l Privatisation and Water Governance: What Went Wrong and Where to Next? – Dr Kate Bayliss, SOAS, and Dr Jeff Tan,
Aga Khan University
l Distilling or Diluting? Addressing ‘Wicked’ Problems at the Research-Policy Interface – Dr Frances Cleaver, SOAS
l ‘Wicked’ Solutions for Water Resources Protection – Laurence Smith, SOAS
l Final Panel – Prof Jeff Waage, LIDC; Prof Sandy Cairncross, LSHTM;
Tom Slaymaker, WaterAid

To reserve a place (lunch included) contact:
Tel: 020 7958 8251
London International Development Centre
36 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Friday, 20 February 2009

PhD opportunities: University of Exeter and North Wyke Research (UK)

Fully-funded PhD studentship available for collaborative projects between the Department of Geography and North Wyke Research.

A fully-funded PhD studentship (full stipend, fees and support grant) is available for a number of collaborative projects between the Department of Geography and North Wyke Research. All of these projects are co-funded between the University of Exeter and North Wyke Research. PhD students will benefit from full funding as well as a great deal of in-kind support from both Exeter and the project partner – North Wyke Research including access to world class laboratories and a range of training courses relevant to the PhD in question. Any enquiries about these projects should be directed in the first instance to Dr Richard Brazier ((r.e.brazier) at (


Understanding the effect of multiple pollutants on water quality in intensively managed grasslands
Understanding the complexity of pluvial flooding generated from grassland systems under climate change
Developing an understanding of vegetation change and carbon budgets in semi-arid environments
An investigation into techniques for the mitigation of agricultural pollutants to water

Open access and wider participation in science

James Evans and Jacob Reimer have reported their findings in the journal Science (20 February 2009Vol 323, Issue 5917) that in the natural sciences the influence of open access on how widely a journal is read and cited is greatest for multidisciplinary journals. Athough their results show that the influence of open access on global particiaption in science is lower than in previous studies, it does demonstrate that open access does expand the range of those that can experience and benefit from the science.

Need to control Nitrogen and Phosphorus

A useful paper in the journal Science (20 February 2009 Vol 323, Issue 5917) sets out the need to control losses of N and P from land to water. It is important that whilst looking to reduce impacts locally that the consequences downstream on the wider ecosystem are considered.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Now is not the time to slaughter the cow (Nature Editorial)

Nature Editorial 12th Feb 2009

Natural value

An important editorial highlighting the need to take an 'ecosystem services' approach to environmental protection. There are a number of projects around the world that are producing the scientific (natural and social) basis of how we can assess ecosystem services or functions. It is very early days, but it is vital that holistic assessments like ecosystem services are developed and tested (critically) by scientists, policy makers and the wider community if we are to take a more sustainable approach to natural resource management.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

EA Best Farming Practice guide

The Environment Agency have produced a very useful guide for farmers 'Best Farming Practice' that is full of practical ideas to reduce costs and help protect the environment. A couple of farmers have told me that they think this is a very helpful guide. It has a style very similar to Farmers Weekly. Well done the EA.

Revised Code of Good Agricultural Practice

Defra have recently published 'Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers (the ‘CoGAP’)' this useful guide integrates updated versions of the former three separate codes for water, soil and air. The publication offers practical interpretation of legislation and provides good advice on best practice; ‘good agricultural practice’ means a practice that minimises the risk of causing pollution while protecting natural resources and allowing economic agriculture to continue.

Monday, 12 January 2009

RELU workshop on Expert Systems for Natural Resource Management

Tobias Krueger (UEA) is organising a very interesting RELU Workshop on "Expert Systems For Natural Resources Management"14th January 2009. They are inviting project teams with both social and natural science interests in the development of Expert Systems to a workshop to share knowledge and experience. The workshop will explore technical issues in the design of Expert Systems and in elicitation approaches for expert knowledge.

Inter- and Transdisciplinary Problem Framing Conference

td-net for Transdisciplinary Research: Transdisciplinarity Conference 2008
This interesting conference raised and addressed the important issue of problem framing.