The URPP GCB idea emerged from initial discussions between Michael Schaepman, Andy Hector, Michael Schmidt and Bernhard Schmid. A pre-proposal was submitted to the University Board on September 23, 2010, outlining a first sketch of the planned program. Subsequently, the proposal underwent several reviews (internal/external), modifications and improvements. Finally, in July 2012, the URPP GCB (and 7 other URPPs), were selected for implementation starting January 1st, 2013.
The URPP on Global Change and Biodiversity (URPP GCB) is designed to advance the specific research agendas of its participants further through integration with other researchers of the URPP Global Change and Biodiversity. Two faculties and five institutes are involved in the program: The Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, The Department of Geography, the Institute of Mathematics, Institute of Plant Biology, and The Zurich University Centre for Ethics. Each Institute has complementary expertise in biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, evolution, and next generation genomics research; radiative transfer, validation of satellite-inferred essential climate variables (ECVs) and spatio-temporal geostatistics; mathematical and physical modelling, political ecology and with expertise in ethical issues concerning resource rights and climate change. Each Institute has world-leading scientists in the respective domain. The complex relationship between the observed variables and the processes involved, between the statistical results and the scientific conclusions requires an intensive collaboration between statisticians, biologists, ecologists, etc. at all stages of the URPP. This collaboration profits from the recognized experts, on-going projects, existing external collaborations, and existing infrastructure represented by all of the URPP GCB participants.