Workshops and working groups provide much of the integration and interaction across the BESS programme and also extend our 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 are one-off events whilst working groups allow people to work together over an extended period of many months, coming together at intervals to evaluate progress.


BESS workshop in York

BESS Workshop

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 link to download a pdf summary report.

Working groups

BESS has an active working group developing linkages and synergies between biodiversity  researchers and the Earth Observation community.  In addition, BESS funded 7 Tansley Working Groups, modelled on the US NCEAS working Groups, based at Imperial College’s Silwood Park:

  • 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 Groups

The NCEAS experience showed the need for a specific location that had an established international reputation in the ecology and evolution, offered easy travel access for UK and overseas participants, had accommodation on site or nearby for 15-20 participants and was well equipped with meeting rooms and IT facilities and support. The (then) Centre for Population Biology (CPB) at Silwood Park met all those criteria.

Named the Tansley Working Groups after Sir Arthur Tansley founder of the British Ecological Society, the aim has been 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 require new combinations of skills, datasets or analyses. Such groups act 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.