The Turner Kirk Trust Sprint Challenge funding recipients announced

In partnership with Imperial College London, the Challenge was established to bring together conservation scientists and mathematicians from Imperial's Centre for Environmental PolicyDepartment of Life Sciences, and Department of Mathematics.

Academics were invited to submit projects for funding that applied mathematics to challenging global conservation problems.

As part of the Challenge, academics were invited to pitch their proposed research projects at a unique self-contained event held earlier this year in front of a panel of academic experts. The panel included Professors Mark Burgman and Dan Crisan.

The proposals had to be no more than 2 pages, and academics were asked to apply mathematical tools in novel and unusual ways to difficult conservation challenges. Researchers were encouraged to submit projects that had a high risk of failure, but could catalyse a significant conservation breakthrough if successful.

The Sprint Challenge was a novel way of encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration as well as supporting high-risk/high-reward experimental projects, which might otherwise have difficulty raising funding. These two fundamental values drive the Trust's work.

Twelve proposals were submitted and pitched to the panel, with three projects selected and awarded funding. The successful teams expect to begin their research this summer.

Find out about the recipients of the award.


Turner Kirk Sprint Challenge Fund inaugural workshop

We were delighted to be joined by Dr Ewan Kirk and Dr Patricia Turner the founders and trustees of the Turner Kirk Charitable Trust, and the Trust’s Programme Coordinator Isabel Webber, to launch their Sprint Challenge Fund.

The workshop led by Profs Mark Burman and Dan Crisan took place at the Centre for Environmental Policy on Weds 17th February with at least 40 academics joining in-person and online from across Maths, Life Sciences and CEP for a lively discussion and exchange of ideas.

Ewan Kirk provided an overview of the Trust and their ambitions for the Fund. He and Patricia are particularly interested in supporting innovative high-risk activity that has the potential to address an urgent need in a quick and timely way, but with the freedom to try, and to fail with the knowledge that sometimes we learn more from failing. Their forward-thinking philanthropy is a challenge for us to be creative and think outside the box.

The workshop was huge fun – there was clear passion and excitement in the room with eight interesting initial pitches made.