Young Bornean orangutan travelling along the ground

Formerly the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment Initiative, the Georgina Mace Centre for the Living Planet brings together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to tackle some of the greatest environmental challenges

"Planet Earth is facing unprecedented environmental challenges due to human expansion - the Georgina Mace Centre for the Living Planet hopes to contribute some science-based solutions to mitigate those effects for a sustainable development." - Professor Vincent Savolainen

Many challenges facing human society depend on the interaction between ecological systems, the environment and human wellbeing. Yet our current understanding of these complex systems is mostly insufficient for science-based intervention.

Based at Silwood Park, but with members from across Imperial College London, the UK and the world, this new Centre brings together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to tackle some of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world.

The Georgina Mace Centre for the Living Planet aims to serve as an international hub to initiate and bring together leaders in fields such as the natural and social sciences, engineering and economics with policy makers and other stakeholders, to work on integrated research programmes that have real-time impacts on conservation and the environment.


Georgina MaceThis new Centre is named after Professor Dame Georgina Mace FRS. Dame Georgina was one of the most prominent ecologists and conservation biologists of recent times. In 2000 she became Director of Science for ZSL and head of its Institute of Zoology. She moved to Imperial College London in 2006 as Professor of Conservation Science and Director of the NERC Centre for Population Biology. She moved to UCL in 2012, becoming Professor of Biodiversity & Ecosystems and the founding Director of the Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research.

Georgina contributed to an astonishing range of scientific projects, global committees, and leadership or trustee roles in other organisations, including the Royal Society, the British Ecological Society, World Wildlife Fund, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Natural History Museum and the Eden Project.

She pioneered the development of universal criteria for listing the world’s threatened species in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list. This led in 2002 to the global signatories to the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committing to substantial reductions in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

She led on biodiversity for the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005, which showed the alarming degradation of our planet. In 2012, she became one of the first members of The Natural Capital Committee, directly advising the UK government and leading in 2018 to an ambitious national 25 Year Environment Plan. She later served on the Adaptation sub-committee of the Climate Change Committee.

Sadly, Dame Georgina died on 19 September 2020 at the age of 67. Full obituaries appeared in The Times, Guardian and Telegraph as well as in several scientific journals. Imperial also paid tribute to Georgina Mace; she was a much loved and respected colleague, and unanimously we are all delighted here to be able to cherish her memory with this new Centre.