AGILE: Providing rapid evidence-based solutions to the needs of environmental policy-makers.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Martin School


The Stern and Dasgupta reviews on the economics of climate change and biodiversity respectively make clear, wealth creation, ecosystem health, and quality of life are inextricably linked. The UK government is committed to showing global leadership in climate change and biodiversity (and in their intersection) building on commitment that will be made in 2021 for climate change at Glasgow (COP26) and biodiversity at Kunming (COP15). Furthermore, the UK government's 25-Year Environment Plan includes the pledge to leave the environment in a better state than it is in now, while the Environment Bill currently going through parliament commits the government to set legally enforceable targets for different areas including climate, air quality, water quality, land management and biodiversity. Within these broad areas, there are numerous decisions requiring scientific input that have to be made in short timeframes (6-12 months). However, Universities are adept at doing excellent research within the typical three to five years projects, and UKRI is highly skilled at selecting the most promising of these projects. This presents the problem of delivering interdisciplinary research (IDR) with stakeholders to address challenges and provide tangible outcomes and environmental solutions within much shorter public and private sector policy cycles. The challenge we identify for this call is urgency and rapid delivery of IDR to provide a clear path from discovery to translation and impact.

Our approach within AGILE is to build capacity within Oxford University to rapidly bring together IDR, and identify evidence-based solutions to major social and environmental challenges. AGILE is composed three overarching goals.

First is delivering a collection of Sprint projects, characterized by policy pull for their socio-economic importance, timeliness for policy and practice, co-creation with stakeholders, and researchers with the capability to communicate effectively across boundaries to adopt a whole systems approach. Goal 1 will deliver five central objectives: 1) Demand-led Sprint formulation through engagement with stakeholders, 2) Convene Sprint teams to set tangible outcomes and robust action plans, 3) Monitor and evaluate progress to accelerate projects ensuring optimal deployment of resources, 4) Creation of a body of knowledge on effective approaches to IDR and the capability of IDR researchers, to be embedded in the university culture and shared with UKRI, and crucially 5) Uptake partnerships and reformulation to ensure implementable solutions.

Second is to create a critical mass of IDR researchers, through 1) capturing lessons learned from these Sprints and translating them into training opportunities for the wider research community, 2) building a community of IDR researchers through shared learning and ongoing engagement with the programme and policy-makers, and 3) and enabling rapid development of AGILE teams creating capability and supporting career development.

Third is the AGILE legacy, of creating a culture shift in the way universities evaluate IDR and work towards ensuring the outputs of IDR are recognised as of equal value in recruitment and retention policies. This will ensure increased opportunities for funding and delivering excellent interdisciplinary research, with users, providing the evidence base for effective policy and practice, in a more realistic policy-cycle timeframe.

AGILE will enable transformational change in the way high-quality interdisciplinary research informs decision-making on how we manage the natural environment in a rapidly warming world.



Patrick Grant (Principal Investigator)
Alison Smith (Co-Investigator)
Benjamin William Surridge (Co-Investigator)
Rosalind Emily Mayors Rickaby (Co-Investigator)
Aidong Yang (Co-Investigator)
Richard Grenyer (Co-Investigator)
Peter Smith (Co-Investigator)
Cameron Hepburn (Co-Investigator)
Rene Banares-Alcantara (Co-Investigator) orcid
Michael Obersteiner (Co-Investigator) orcid
Eleanor Milner-Gulland (Co-Investigator)
Yadvinder Singh Malhi (Co-Investigator) orcid
Owen Lewis (Co-Investigator) orcid
Mark Alexander Hirons (Co-Investigator)
Myles Robert Allen (Co-Investigator)
Michael Aaron Clark (Co-Investigator) orcid
Monika Barbara Zurek (Co-Investigator) orcid
Steve Smith (Co-Investigator) orcid
Joe Cartwright (Co-Investigator)
Heather Alison Bouman (Co-Investigator)
Kok Siew Ng (Co-Investigator) orcid
Jim William Hall (Co-Investigator) orcid
Michael Kendall (Co-Investigator)
Nathalie Seddon (Co-Investigator)
Michelle Jackson (Co-Investigator)
Matthew Carl Ives (Co-Investigator)
Ian Thompson (Co-Investigator)
Heather Viles (Co-Investigator) orcid
Robert James Smith (Co-Investigator) orcid
Joss Wright (Co-Investigator)
John Ingram (Co-Investigator)
Hugh Charles Jonathan Godfray (Co-Investigator)
Joseph William Bull (Co-Investigator) orcid
Tim Coulson (Co-Investigator) orcid
Nicholas Sean Salmon (Researcher) orcid
Sophus Olav Zu Ermgassen (Researcher) orcid
Fabrizio Albanito (Researcher)
Tom Kettlety (Researcher) orcid
Zachary Cesaro (Researcher) orcid
Jasper Verschuur (Researcher) orcid
Cecilia Larrosa (Researcher) orcid


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