University of Melbourne launches Institute to address global biodiversity loss

The University of Melbourne has launched the Melbourne Biodiversity Institute (MBI), a collective dedicated to addressing the global challenge of biodiversity loss. Photo Credit: Jaana Dielenberg

The University of Melbourne has launched the Melbourne Biodiversity Institute (MBI), a collective of researchers, innovators, and interdisciplinary problem-solvers dedicated to addressing the global challenge of biodiversity loss.

MBI will bring together a diverse range of academic experts from across the University, and link expertise with governments, private institutions, and communities.

It will focus on discovery research, conservation actions, policy, and education to address the drivers of biodiversity loss and develop sustainable solutions.

Institute Director Professor Brendan Wintle said solving Earth’s biodiversity crisis required an understanding of nature through research across all disciplines, as well as expertise in industry and community to understand the political barriers to enabling change.

“Biodiversity loss is far more than just an environmental problem. The causes and ramifications of global biodiversity loss have economic, legal, social, and cultural dimensions.

“Biodiversity supports everything in nature we need to survive: clean air, food, clothing, fresh water, and medicine, and long-term solutions are needed to address this existential challenge,” Professor Wintle said.

Melbourne Biodiversity Deputy Director, Dr Rachel Morgain said the launch of MBI recognised the University’s strong position to tackle global biodiversity loss.

“The University is home to world-class researchers in biodiversity, and the Institute will unite and amplify the breadth of interdisciplinary expertise across faculties. The solutions to this global challenge lie in the connections of our expertise,” Dr Rachel Morgain said.

The newest of the Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, establishment of the MBI follows the launch of the Biodiversity Council in late 2022, a national body hosted by the University of Melbourne with 10 other university partners to provide expert advocacy for Australia’s biodiversity.

The University of Melbourne’s Deputy Dean of Science and renowned ecologist Professor Michael McCarthy said the University has a strong track record of transformative, real-world impact when interdisciplinary problem-solving is embraced.

“Globally, we know we cannot reach net-zero and nature positive without addressing the biodiversity crisis. The Institute is our next step in harnessing our research and expertise to make long lasting change to protect our most valuable asset – our environment.

“The University is committed to the global goal of addressing the biodiversity crisis and achieving nature positive. We need to understand biodiversity in all its forms and use our knowledge and focus on solutions to support decision-making by governments, businesses, and communities,” Professor McCarthy said.

The Melbourne Biodiversity Institute was launched by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell on Wednesday 8 November 2023 at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus.