Project title A novel master course for capacity building in modelling biodiversity and ecosystem services
Implementing Institutions School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Queen Mary University of London,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Country(ies) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Abstract World-wide insufficient capacity in ecological modelling is a major obstacle to achievement of IPBES objectives, specifically in development of assessments, policy support and communication with stakeholder groups.  We will offer a novel MSc course targeting international students that is tailored to meet this capacity-building need. The course appears to be the first of its kind. To hedge the inherent risks, we request funding of a new Lecturer position over three years. The designation of the Lecturer can a contain reference to the funder.
Project Description The School will offer a 1yr MSc course in Ecological Modelling. It addresses a key IPBES capacity-building need (s.b.) and appears to be the world's first internationally accessible MSc course on this topic. The course targets highly motivated international students interested in management and protection of BES at local or global level. It focuses on understanding and judicious use of established modelling frameworks, and includes learning modules on real-world model use in BES management, the underlying ecological theories and methods, and the practice of using models in policy contexts. Part of the course is a MSc research project that typically involves choice, parametrization and use of a model to address a specific local or global policy question. Building on an established student-centred teaching infrastructure, the course draws on broad applied modelling expertise within the School, covering aquatic ecosystems, fisheries, populations resolved to individuals, forests, nutrient cycling, etc. A new Lecturer will be employed to strengthen teaching capacity and further broader this expertise, e.g. towards Bayesian modelling frameworks as used in model co-design to capture indigenous and local knowledge (e.g. ariesonline.org). As a major risk, a persistent misconception of Ecology as a purely observational science might limit student intake. This will be addressed through intensive international advertisement of the course, also through IPBES facilities, and temporary employment and the requested external sponsorship of the new Lecturer over the first three years.
Project Objectives and expected Achievables For the third year of running the course, we expect a course intake of 10 - 50 students per year  (target: 20), most of which will attain the MSc degree. At least half of these will be international students. Graduates will leave to lead local initiatives to model BES in support of policy and management, or substantially contribute to regional or global projects. Careers and achievements of alumni will be tracked as feedback to teachers and funders. From year four onward, the course should be self-funding.
Timeframe 3 years
Geographic Scale Multinational
Seeking Resources for: Project implementation
Type of Resources/Support needed: Financial
Name of organisation: 
Project relevance: 
Projects and activities of interest to IPBES and partners