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Nature-Smart Centre

Our Nature-Smart Centre will focus on better understanding our dependencies on natural systems and how we can operate within safe and sustainable ecological limits.

We face huge global challenges as increasing human populations appropriate more of the earth’s resources, disrupt natural systems and change global climate patterns.

It is critical to better understand our dependencies on natural systems and how we can operate within safe and sustainable ecological limits - not just making our world ‘smart’ but ‘nature-smart’.

The focus of our new Nature-Smart Centre at UCL East is on the interplay between ecological and human health.

The Centre will provide a cross-disciplinary hub, bringing together world-leading expertise in a range of areas – from biodiversity to computer science, urban ecology to city planning, environmental economics to human health – to gather evidence on how best to manage our natural resources for a sustainable and resilient future. 

Key information

UCL faculty: Life Sciences
Academic lead: Professor Kate Jones
Building: Pool Street West
Focus areas: Ecology; citizen science; human health

Located at UCL East, the Centre will be adjacent to one of the most biodiverse areas of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This gives us an unparalleled environment in which to ask nature-smart questions.

UCL East’s buildings, its green spaces and the surrounding area will provide a living lab for the Nature-Smart Centre and will host a network of smart sensors to monitor the effectiveness of green infrastructure in supporting ecosystems for both people and nature. 

Within the Centre, flexible and contemporary facilities will offer innovative teaching and research, consultancy, life learning and citizen science programmes to widen participation in the links between ecological and human health, urban design and sustainability, new technologies to monitor and manage environments.

Specialist microbiology, along with dry and wet lab spaces, will coexist with hands-on technology make-spaces. New hardware and software technologies will be developed to track, monitor and manage natural systems and biodiversity.

New cross-disciplinary postgraduate programmes will welcome students looking at everything - from ecology and wildlife conservation technologies, citizen science to big data analytics, sustainable urban design and health. 

We are at a crucial tipping point in human history to decide how to best manage our planet’s natural resources and combat impacts of changing climates. The Nature-Smart Centre will play a crucial role in developing tools to manage natural resources and a better understanding of the fundamental dependencies we have on our environment." – Professor Kate Jones, Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity