The History of ESPA

Below is a timeline of the major milestones in the ESPA programme.

  • March 2016: ESPA-2016 call for research synthesis projects.
  • May 2014: ESPA-2014 call for 'Blue skies' research.
  • November 2013: Eleven ESPA-2013 projects awarded.
  • July 2012: Proposals to attend a Grant Development Workshop in support of the ESPA-2012 funding call were shortlisted.
  • Summer 2012: Four Evidence and Impact Research Grants (EIRGs) were funded by the Directorate, to generate high-quality evidence of how ecosystem services contribute to poverty alleviation around the world by interacting with key policy and outreach events during 2012.
  • Spring 2011: The International Programme Advisory Committee (I-PAC) was appointed to provide ESPA with independent advice on strategic and technical aspects of the programme in relation to research, capacity strengthening and most importantly in getting research into use.
  • September 2010: The ESPA Directorate contract was awarded to the University of Edinburgh and operations began, providing support to the programme. The Directorate manages a cross-portfolio programme covering knowledge sharing, research into use, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity building.
  • November 2009: The design of the ESPA programme was fully approved, and the DFID and ESRC funding allocations confirmed.
  • Early-2009: Eleven Strengthening Research Capacity projects were implemented, to begin strengthening the capacity of the research community needed for the delivery of ESPA’s goals.
  • January 2009: External consultation with expert Focus Groups on the ESPA research landscape took place. Six broad research themes emerged from the consultation phase, which described some of the key components of the ESPA research landscape.
  • July 2008:  The NERC Council approved the funding allocation for ESPA.
  • June 2008:  A Synthesis Workshop in Cape Town was held to discuss outcomes of the Regional Situation Analyses. A PAC meeting was held to discuss the conceptual framework and to produce a list of potential themes for the ESPA programme.
  • April 2007:  The first meeting of the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) was held.
  • Sept 2006:  A DFID-NERC-ESRC PMG meeting was held to approve the ESPA rationale.
  • March 2005: The findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment were approved, showing that the loss of services from ecosystems is a significant barrier to reducing poverty, hunger and disease.