Sprint team BNG research short-listed for Vice Chancellor’s Research Engagement Award

The Sprint team established themselves as a centre of excellence for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) research and building a strong network of stakeholders. 

Tree on a cliff face

The ‘How do we account for biodiversity?’ Sprint team nomination, fronted by Sophus zu Ermgassen, and including researchers Joe Bull, EJ Milner Gulland, Nat Duffus, Tom Atkins, Amber Butler, and Hannah Nicholas, references work undertaken during the Agile Sprint from April 2022-June 2023 on influencing the design and implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) in England.

The team produced a Practical Guide for planners and developers to use when submitting Biodiversity Gain Plans which they communicated and disseminated to groups including local planning authorities, the Planning Advisory Service, and the University’s Estates and Facilities Biodiversity Sub-Committee.

Following the Sprint, the team have continued to proactively engage with relevant stakeholders at all levels on effective planning for and implementing BNG.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Awards are a University-wide celebration of outstanding people and research. This year, they received 250 entries across 11 categories, with 1,500 individuals named. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday 8th May at the Sheldonian Theatre.

The Agile Initiative was established in February 2022 with a major £10 million grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It is part of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, building on its mission to foster innovative collaborations to solve the world’s most urgent challenges. The Agile Initiative reflects Oxford University’s commitment to net zero carbon and net biodiversity gain and is part of an increasing community of projects and institutes at the University focussed on pressing environmental issues. The Agile Initiative responds to specific social and environmental policy questions with fast-paced solution-focused ‘Sprints’ that deliver demand-led new research precisely when it’s needed. In these Sprints, new interdisciplinary research teams drawn from across Oxford work with partners to feed evidence into the policy cycle in real-time.