Growing research capability in Colombia

A shared vision on protecting biodiversity to achieve sustainability and peace.

Project Summary.


Following the peace agreement in Colombia, now is the time to study the country’s staggeringly rich native biodiversity. In an RCUK-funded international collaborative effort, UK-based researchers are working with a network of scientists throughout Colombia to study the genetic diversity within the country’s unique biodiversity, documenting its distribution and the threats it faces.

Colombia is one of the 17 countries considered as “megadiverse” by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the national catalog of biodiversity includes up to 55 thousand species of animals and plants, 3652 of them endemic, representing around 10% of all known species on earth. However, Colombia’s varied habitats, which range from coastal to mountainous and savannah grasslands to rainforest, face a number of modern threats due to logging, agriculture and more.

The multidisciplinary programme aims at strengthening Colombian research capability in the biological sciences, computational biology, and socio-economics to develop robust coordinated activities under a shared vision centred on biodiversity as a means to achieve sustainability and peace. Colombia's biodiversity is not only important for the country's natural heritage and the preservation of unique species in the world, it is also essential for the improvement of human welfare, social equality and economic development.

Impact statement.

The initial four-year investment from RCUK’s Global Challenges Research Fund is set to stimulate the bioeconomy by increasing knowledge of Colombia’s greatest treasure, its biodiversity.

The project builds on an alliance of key partner institutions in the UK and Colombia, which aims for research excellence through promoting innovative technologies, developing resilient research capabilities, building partnerships, and fostering best practise in knowledge exchange, with longer-term goals to stimulate economic and social growth. It will help Colombian researchers, industry partners and crop breeders gain the skills needed to drive sustainable innovation and to attract further public and private funding.