Ecosystem Services Program News

Required Rethink on What is Evidence

Evidence-based approaches to sustainability challenges must draw on knowledge from the environment, development, and health communities. To be practicable, this requires an approach to evidence that is broader and less hierarchical than the standards often applied within disciplines says a new article in Nature Sustainability. It mentions the work of the Bridge Collaborative (which Duke and our own Lydia Olander helped found with the Nature Conservancy, PATH, and IFPRI), explicitly to develop new approaches to cross-sector challenges. 

National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Announces Winners of the NAKFI Challenge

Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is among the recipients of one of three National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Challenge awards. The project, "Institutionalizing Interdisciplinarity: A Cross-Institutional Network to Synthesize What is Working (and Not) in the Pursuit of Transformative Sustainability Science," aims to create a cross-university network to review and synthesize three central challenges to institutionalizing interdisciplinarity: measuring impact, supporting students, and fostering co-development. The models will be drawn from sustainability science—an emerging field that spans natural and social sciences.

Students walking in Kunshan, China - Cui Liu

Course Gives Students Chance to Participate in China Conservation Planning

Duke Kunshan University (DKU) administrators received some help from their own students as they planned the second phase of the Kunshan, China, campus expansion this spring. Three students used skills learned in a course on conservation planning and monitoring led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions senior fellow Elizabeth Losos to develop biodiversity recommendations that will be used in the expansion, slated for completion in 2021.

National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Awards $5.3 Million to Enhance Environmental Restoration Outcomes and Improve Oil Spill Risk Assessment

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced grant awards for seven new projects totaling $5.3 million, including an award to a team of researchers led by Lydia Olander of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Five of the projects involve developing or testing new technologies or methods for monitoring or evaluating environmental restoration projects to improve future restoration efforts.

Duke-Led Team Receives Funding to Assess Progress on Gulf Ecosystem Restoration

A team of researchers led by Lydia Olander of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions has received $1,335,798 to conduct research on Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration. The grant is funded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Christy Ihlo Bypasses a “Traditional” Career Path to Pursue her Passion in Tanzania

Christy Ihlo took a huge, but carefully calculated, risk leaving her post as a policy associate at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions to pursue her passion for international conservation with an NGO in Tanzania. She went as an unpaid six-month intern for the African People & Wildlife Fund. Now she has been hired, with a great promotion, to direct their monitoring and evaluation efforts, a growing sub-field in international conservation. Her story is about developing skills, weighing—and then taking—risks, and building a career in an unexpected way.

Global Alliance Releases New Tools to Guide Evidence-based Solutions Across Health, Development, and Environment

The Bridge Collaborative, a global alliance of 90 organizations from 23 countries, today released two new tools to assist decision-makers solving big challenges facing health, development, and the environment. The Bridge Collaborative Practitioner’s Guide on Principles and Guidance for Cross-sector Action Planning and Evidence Evaluation and the policy-focused Call to Action for Health, Environment, and Development Leaders were developed to accelerate progress toward building a shared, cross-sector evidence base that informs strategies, shapes policies, and directs funding decisions to achieve concrete solutions.

Duke Hires Former DOJ, Hill Aide to Lead Climate Program ($)

Duke University has tapped an environmental law expert with experience at the Justice Department and on Capitol Hill to lead its Climate and Energy Program. Kate Konschnik, who most recently was head of Harvard University's Environmental Law Program, will serve as director of the program, which is housed at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program. Photos by Sanjog Sahu and David Kaczan.

Research Program Melds Economics and Environment

For four years, the Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program has sought to provide Ph.D. students with the opportunity to explore the intersection of policy, economics, environmental science, and management around environmental topics. DEEDS gives students a sense of what it is like to conduct an independent research project that is directly relevant to policy processes.

Survey Gauges Top Leaders Views of Environmental Policy Landscape

In spring 2017, researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions set out to determine what and how a broad cross-section of thought leaders at private corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities think about emerging environmental trends, risks, and opportunities. Through the Emerging Environmental Issues Survey, the researchers aimed to assess both the reach and the manageability of environmental change.

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