Workshops and Working Groups

Workshops and working groups provided much of the integration and interaction across the BESS programme and also extended science into the wider community.  Bringing together people with different skills, experiences and viewpoints generates new ideas and approaches to scientific challenges, helping to advance scientific progress on topics. Workshops were one-off events whilst working groups allowed people to work together over an extended period of many months, coming together at intervals to evaluate progress.



BESS funded 12 workshops that brought together over 100 researchers and stakeholders, many of whom were new to the BESS programme. All the workshops are now complete and reports are available for all.

Click on the workshop title to download a pdf summary report:


Working Groups

BESS had an active working group developing linkages and synergies between biodiversity  researchers and the Earth Observation community.  In addition, BESS funded seven Tansley Working Groups, based at Imperial College’s Silwood Park, whose themes were:

  • Information visualisation for science and policy: a joined-up approach
  • FunKeyTraits – using Key Functional Traits to develop ecosystem service indicators
  • Advancing the ecological foundations of sustainability science
  • PerPoce Planet Earth, Planet Ocean: generalising ecosystem properties, dynamics, and service provision across the marine-terrestrial boundary
  • Bridging the gap between theoretical community ecology and conservation
  • Complexity theory
  • Improving the utility, reliability and transparency of land cover change models


About the Tansley Working Groups

Named after Sir Arthur Tansley, founder of the British Ecological Society, the aim was to bring together researchers with different, but related, backgrounds to explore particular issues or ideas, with the emphasis on identifying topics for Working Groups that required new combinations of skills, datasets or analyses. Such groups acted as a focus, drawing together researchers working on similar challenges that are common to multiple large research programmes, such as NERC’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability, Valuing Nature Network, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation, Macronutrient Cycles, Marine Ecosystems, Human-modified Tropical Forests, as well as activity in national capability research centres and institutions.


These pages contain the archive of the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme