Cambridge Conservation Initiative appoints new Executive Director to help tackle urgent threats facing biodiversity

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) today announces the appointment of Dr Mike Maunder as its new Executive Director. Dr Maunder succeeds Dr Mike Rands, who is stepping down to take up the position of Master of Darwin College, Cambridge.

CCI is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine leading biodiversity conservation organisations based in and around Cambridge. The city is the hub of the largest cluster of conservation organisations in the world.

Dr Maunder, who will take up his position in May, has over three decades of experience in the conservation sector, having held positions in organisations including the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Florida International University in Miami, USA, and most recently the Eden Project, UK, where he was Executive Director and Director of Life Sciences. Mike is a founder board member and advisor to the Mohamad Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

“The opportunity to lead the Cambridge Conservation Initiative is both exciting and a huge honour,” said Dr Maunder. “I can think of no place better suited to forging a future for biodiversity and society than CCI, with its history of capitalising on the extraordinary collaborative power of its partner institutions and its position at the centre of Cambridge’s unparalleled intellectual and cultural assets.”

CCI is located in the David Attenborough Building, where leaders in academia, business, government and non-governmental organisations interact and work together. Its partners combine and integrate research, education, policy and practice to create innovative solutions to foster conservation learning and leadership. CCI’s work spans disciplines, organisations and continents. As a global network of leaders in research, education, policy and practice it is fostering a greater awareness of conservation challenges, and accelerating positive change towards a sustainable future for biodiversity and society.

Dr Andy Clements, Chair of CCI Council and Director of the British Trust for Ornithology, one of CCI’s partners, said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Mike Maunder as the next Executive Director of CCI. Mike impressed everyone he met during the recruitment process with his passion for biodiversity and how CCI can continue to make a huge impact for a greener world. With his experience in both the academic and NGO sectors, he understands the unique and precious nature of our collaboration."

Professor Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Cambridge, added: “Dr Maunder is an outstanding appointment to CCI, whose importance both to the University and to the conservation world is increasing as biodiversity faces ever greater threats. While welcoming Dr Maunder, I would also like to thank Mike Rands for his enormous contribution, having led the Initiative since its outset over a decade ago and ensured its prominence and leadership in the field of biodiversity conservation.”