Skills Development and Training

Workshop for early-career researcher: Sustainable Intensification & Valuing Nature in Dialogue: enabling researchers to work across environment

The Valuing Nature (VN) programme in partnership with the Sustainable Intensification Research Network (SIRN) invites expressions of interest from early-career researchers to take part in a three day workshop to enable researchers to work across these two areas.

Government policies across the UK increasingly connect objectives for farming with the environment and broader natural capital approaches (e.g. 25 Year Environment Plan, Agriculture Bill).  These connections bring research challenges which will need novel and interdisciplinary approaches as policies aim to improve both agricultural productivity and the condition of the natural environment.

This workshop aims to support the development of capability for researchers to work across the diverse disciplines needed to link Sustainable Intensification and Natural Capital frameworks.  It will include:

  • presentations from experts in Sustainable Intensification, Natural Capital and interdisciplinary working
  • interactive sessions where attendees work in groups to consider research evidence and  prioritise research needs and opportunities
  • networking opportunities to build connections with researchers from other disciplines
  • experience of cross-disciplinary working in groups, each developing the outline of an output to be completed after the meeting (e.g. a research bid, a policy and practice impact paper, a “thought-piece” or a peer-reviewed journal paper).  Each group will be supported by a mentor with experience in the area.

Confirmed speakers and mentors include Michael Winter (University of Exeter), Andy Whitmore (Rothamsted Research), Ece Ozdemiroglu, (eftec), Rosie Hails (National Trust), Robert Fish (University of Kent) and Charles Godfray (University of Oxford).

After the workshop, participants will be asked to provide a personal statement indicating their views on what the challenges are, what they have learned from the workshop and what they will do differently in their future careers.

We seek applicants with experience in disciplines broadly related to Sustainable Intensification and / or Natural Capital who are keen to develop their ability to contribute to innovative interdisciplinary research across these areas.

Researchers must meet the eligibility criteria to participate (see below).

The 3-day workshop will take place on 5th-7th March 2019 at the Aston Conference Centre in Birmingham and applicants must be available to attend on these days.  The meeting will start with lunch on Tuesday 5th March and finish early afternoon on 7th March. There is no cost to attend the workshop, overnight accommodation (5th and 6th March 2019) and meals will be provided free of charge. Attendees will be expected to cover their own travel costs.


In order to be eligible, researchers should:

  • be currently employed as a post-doctoral researcher or equivalent at a UK higher education institute, research institute, or independent research organisation
    be based in the UK
  • have completed their PhD within the last ten years (non-consecutive in the case of those who have had a career break). Applicants are therefore eligible if they have completed their PhD after September 2008.

Application Process

Applicants are required to complete a short application form.  Applications will be assessed to ensure applicants have relevant skills and experience, and have the potential to benefit from the workshop.  Participants will be selected to ensure diverse representation in expertise, organization, gender and across funder interests.

To apply, complete the online form by 10am 28 January 2019.

Those invited to attend the workshop will be notified by week commencing 4 February 2019.

For additional queries, or if you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact:


Additional information

The Valuing Nature (VN) Programme – aims to better understand and represent the complexities of the natural environment in valuation analyses and decision making. It will consider the economic, societal and cultural value of ecosystem services.  This five year, £7m Programme is funded by NERC, ESRC, BBSRC, AHRC and Defra. For more information, read here.

The Sustainable Intensification Research Network (SIRN) is a community-led initiative for UK academics that aims to achieve better integration of research and resources and looks for innovative approaches to address Sustainable Intensification. SIRN is funded by BBSRC and NERC. For more information, read here.