Business Impact School Nov 2017 - Edinburgh

The third Valuing Nature Business Impact School (BIS3) will be held in Edinburgh from Wednesday 29 November to Saturday 2 December 2017.

The Valuing Nature Programme will run the BIS3 to provide early career researchers with an opportunity to gain insight into producing research with business impact.

NERC has provided funding to offer fully-funded places (school, travel, accommodation, meals, field trip) for around 25 early stage researchers for BIS3. 

Programme now available.

Deadline extended to midday 11 October due to technical problems with the application form.

Moreover, BIS3 offers two outstanding add-ons:

  • All BIS3 participants will attend the Natural Capital Coalition Day of Collaboration in Edinburgh on Wednesday 29 November, with accommodation and subsistence costs covered by BIS3. These places have already been reserved with NCC, you do not need to make a separate reservation.
  • The World Forum on Natural Capital convenes in Edinburgh on Monday 27 to Tuesday 28 November. BIS3 Applicants are encouraged to apply separately for a Scholarship to attend the WFNC (apply here, deadline Friday 29 September). Successful BIS3 applicants who are also successful in receiving a WFNC Scholarship will have the balance of their WFNC registration costs as well as travel and accommodation for the extra nights covered by BIS3 funding.

BIS1 was held in March 2016 and BIS2 in March 2017. The programmes, reports and presentations are available here.

The importance of the impact agenda

The impact agenda is critical to contemporary research careers and an ability to design research with impact is vital for researchers to secure research funding. Research proposals to the UK Research Councils and the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme are required to address impact, and this is closely examined during the evaluation processes. Impact is also a key consideration in UK higher education funding to universities, and is assessed based on submissions including Impact Case Studies. An ability to deliver impact is therefore a key skill that universities and other research bodies look for when appointing and retaining researchers. The funder of the School, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) recognises the importance of demonstrating the impact of environmental science in terms of delivering economic and social benefit as a key indicator of success of delivery of the NERC strategy.

Valuing Nature and business impact

The Valuing Nature agenda is increasingly of interest to businesses. A failure to properly value nature can present significant risks to businesses, while valuing nature throughout a business and its value chain can present significant opportunities to enhance return on investment and reputation.

VNP is pursuing an active business engagement programme, with advice from a high level Business Interest Group (BIG). BIG outputs include a paper on Pathways to Impact with Business in relation to the VNP Health and Wellbeing Call.

Aim and programme

This NERC-funded VNP Business Impact School aims to develop a Valuing Nature research community with a broader understanding of how research on valuing nature can be translated in to private sector decision-making and innovation. Speakers will be drawn from the VNP Business Interest Group and other relevant businesses and business initiatives at the forefront of innovation related to valuing nature. Speakers at the 2016 and 2017 Schools included Nestle, Intelligent Health, Interserve, National Grid, Nestle, Satellite Communications Catapult, United Utilities, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Aldersgate Group, Willis Towers Watson, Greater London Authority, Willmott Dixon, Wessex Water, AECOM and representatives from Aldersgate Group, Natural Capital Coalition as well as the Chair of the VNP Business Interest Group and the PI and Business Champion of the VN Programme Coordination Team.

The BIS3 programme will include similar speakers and will offer plenty of opportunity to interact with speakers. There will also be a ‘hands-on’ session run by eftec and Natural England on understanding the business need for evidence and communicating with business.

Dates and venues

  • The WFNC (for those securing WFNC Scholarships) is on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 November.
  • The Natural Capital Coalition Day of Collaboration is on Wednesday 29 November.
  • The Business School will then convene on Thursday 30 November and Friday 1 December (venue to be confirmed), with a field day (venue to be confirmed) to view relevant business innovation in practice on Saturday 2 December.

Successful applicants for WFNC Scholarships should aim to arrive in Edinburgh on the evening of Sunday 26 November. All other BIS3 attendees should aim to arrive on the evening of Tuesday 28 November to attend a welcome dinner at 19:00. Departure for all attendees will be on the afternoon of Saturday 2 December (timing to be confirmed).

Number of places and eligibility

The Valuing Nature Programme will offer fully-funded places (school, travel, accommodation, meals, field trip) for around 25 early stage researchers. To be eligible, applicants must be registered for a PhD at the closing date for applications (see below) or employed as a post-doc researcher and awarded a PhD on or after 1 January 2015. The School is open only to applicants registered or employed at UK universities or research bodies eligible for UK Research Council funding.

Schedule for applications and notification

The deadline for submission of applications is 12:00 midday GMT on Wednesday 11th October 2017. Applications will be assessed in relation to: (1) relevance of current research to the School content; (2) motivation; (3) publication track record (assessed in relation to career stage). Consideration will be given to gender balance. The outcome of the assessment will be communicated, and invitations to successful applicants will be issued, by the end of January. Applicants should not book any travel prior to confirmation of a place at the School. Please also note that all accommodation and meals will be provided so applicants should not book separate accommodation in Edinburgh.


For any queries about the Business Impact School or the Valuing Nature Programme, please contact

To receive information on future Business Impact Schools or other Valuing Nature opportunites, please sign up to the Valuing Nature Network