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BRIDGE Colombia Day 2018 in association with COLCIENCIAS and NERC

As part of the BRIDGE Colombia research partnership to help preserve and promote Colombia’s lustrous biodiversity while encouraging economic and social growth, Earlham Institute’s (Norwich, UK) Director of Science Prof Federica di Palma will be leading the BRIDGE Colombia Day supported by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Colombian Science, Technology and Innovation agency COLCIENCIAS.

BRIDGE Colombia Day 2018 celebrates the winners of the Newton-Caldas Fund, in association with COLCIENCIAS and NERC. The BRIDGE Colombia global impact network is a multidisciplinary cohort of Colombian,UK and international researchers and organisations working together to develop the country’s unique biodiversity as a means to achieve economic sustainability and civil rest. Understanding and protecting biodiversity is paramount to the global issue of food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. By making the most of what nature has to offer, we have the potential to adapt to pressing global challenges, such as population growth and climate change.

Founder and Director of the BRIDGE Colombia network, Professor Federica Di Palma, said: “The 2018 BRIDGE Colombia meeting will consolidate this vital network at a formative time for both Colombia and the UK. As both countries adapt to new policy landscapes and evolving political challenges, there has never been a greater need for academics, NGOs, businesses and decisions-makers to join forces to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic growth and social wellbeing The expanding BRIDGE Colombia network is successfully facilitating crucial dialogue and collaborative partnerships.”

Head of Economic Diplomacy from the British Embassy in Colombia, Dr Andrew Ford, will give the keynote address on the importance of British and Colombian alliances to achieve excellence in research and innovation in support of economic development and social welfare.

“The megadiversity within the Colombian landscape has been relatively understudied. Now is a great time for UK and international scientists to work with and learn from Colombian scientists, to study this diversity and to observe how Colombians interact with the landscape in a sustainable way,” added Dr Ford.

Cristina Bonillo, Sustainable Business & External Affairs Director Middle Americas from Unilever said: “The research and understanding facilitated through the BRIDGE network provide ways to link to local communities. Unilever, as one of the stakeholders, is aligned with the goals of the BRIDGE Colombia, and we look forward to finding opportunities for future interactions.”

Delegates will hear from government, NGOs, academic institutions and the private sector on new research and conservation initiatives, economic funds, sustainable business and conserved biodiversity collections – widening the BRIDGE Colombia network with ongoing opportunities for knowledge exchange between Colombia and the UK.

Delegates and winners of the Newton-Caldas Fund will also attend a field trip to Chingaza National Natural Park – an ecosystem treasure that has over 1,000 plant species and is the main reservoir for Colombia, providing 80% of Bogota’s high-quality drinking water. Delegates will explore the park’s landscapes and endemic species – known as one of the major geographic regions for a vast array of wildlife in Colombia, including the spectacled bear, white-tailed deer, Andean condor and cougar – as well as 400 bird species, 44 amphibian species and 29 reptile species.


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Natalia Valderrama: or Saskia Hervey:


Andrew Ford, Head of Economic Diplomacy, British Embassy, Colombia

Sonia Monroy, Colciencias Deputy Director, Newton-Caldas Fund

Prof Federica di Palma, Director of Science, Earlham Institute

Luis Calzadilla, Head of Science & Innovation, British Embassy

Amy Vitale, Senior Programme Manager, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Jamie Davies, International Stakeholder Engagement Portfolio Manager, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Alberto Gómez, Universidad Javeriana, member of Comisión Mutis

Juan Manuel Lozano, Universidad del Rosario, member of Comisión Mutis

Cristina Bonillo, Sustainable Business & External Affairs Director Middle Americas, Unilever

Brigitte Baptiste, General Director, Humboldt Institute

Melissa Laverde, WWF-Colombia

Carlos Villegas, Member of the Board of Directors, Foro de Presidentes

Simon Kerley, Head of Research – Terrestrial Ecosystems, NERC