The World’s First Conservation Venture Studio was launched on the 9th February, with a mission to bring innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems. OXGAV, as it will be known, is a partnership between the University of Oxford, Global Accelerated Ventures and Oxford University Innovation.

OXGAV will support the research and development of cutting-edge innovations by interdisciplinary scientists across departments at Oxford and will enable the outputs of this research to be commercialised and scaled around the world. Technologies coming from OXGAV will combat global warming, biodiversity loss, Covid-19, food security, ocean plastics, the energy crisis and more. The Studio will also serve as a think-tank for thought leadership in conservation innovation.

LMH Fellow Professor David Macdonald, Founder and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) will be the inaugural Chairman of OXGAV’s Joint Steering Committee. LMH took a global lead in establishing the first university-based Research Fellowship in Wildlife Conservation, taken by Professor Macdonald in 1986. LMH has been the Oxford College dedicated to wildlife conservation research ever since.

Professor Macdonald says, ‘The biodiversity crisis threatens the moving parts of nature that sustain ecosystems and support humanity. Novel technologies expand human capacity beyond previous imagining. What more potent, then, than to combine the greatest problem on earth with the greatest source of solutions, for the shared well-being of nature and people? At the WildCRU we’ve been developing technologies to serve conservation since the early days of radio-tracking – most recently we’ve been using individual voice recognition to count lions, and monitoring elephants from space.’

Dr Robert Montgomery, Professor of Conservation Science from Michigan State University, has accepted the position of the Managing Director of OXGAV. He will also be taking up an academic appointment as a Senior Research Fellow at LMH and a position in WildCRU at the Department of Zoology.

Dr Montgomery says, ‘Addressing the world’s conservation challenges requires immediate action. I am extremely excited to join OXGAV where Oxford University, GAV, and Oxford University Innovation have demonstrated their commitment to engineering a more prosperous and sustainable future for people, wildlife, and the environment via the commercialisation of technological and entrepreneurial solutions.’

LMH Principal Alan Rusbridger says, ‘LMH is proud of its long association with the WildCRU and the special involvement it gives the College in conservation: the brilliant idea of the Conservation Venture Studio adds another jewel to this already glittering crown, and should galvanize inter-departmental research to the great benefit of wildlife, the wider environment and Oxford.’