Research processes and practices

Responding to research needs, leading research innovation

Our research structure is both agile and responsive, enabling us to advance conservation science and swiftly address the critical issues faced by WWF and the broader conservation community. We focus on:

  • Developing novel, trans-disciplinary solutions to well-established conservation challenges;
  • Bringing new conservation challenges into focus for global research communities;
  • Exploring emerging threats and opportunities to conservation communities.

Developing research projects

The Luc Hoffmann Institute currently has 11 active projects, all of which:

  • Bring science into decision-making;
  • Involve collaboration with academics, the WWF Network, other civil society organisations and decision-makers;
  • Build capacity;
  • Use peer-reviewed, replicable methods;
  • Produce useable research.

We use a hands-on, two-stage approach to research and synthesis project development. The Luc Hoffmann Institute director and research leads are scientists and science brokers, facilitating the flow of information among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholderswork. We work with WWF Network leaders, scientists, thought leaders, policy experts and practitioners in the public and private sector to identify opportunities where collaborative science can significantly aid major conservation initiatives within and beyond WWF.

Ideas are thus developed collaboratively with Luc Hoffmann Institute staff working closely with a proposal team that includes academic and civil-society participants (civil-society participation is typically provided by WWF network staff, but can also include staff from organisations closely aligned with WWF goals and objectives).   It is expected that this group will become the project leadership group for the Collaborative Research Team.

A Two-Stage Process: Short project briefs are developed in collaboration with a Luc Hoffmann Institute staff member. These briefs are reviewed at the Luc Hoffmann Institute, and either declined, sent back for revision, or developed into full proposals (Figure 1). Once a full proposal is developed, it passes through a peer review process that includes at least four independent reviewers, including:

  • A subject-matter expert within WWF;
  • A subject-matter expert external to WWF;
  • A leading academic working in the research field within which the proposal falls;
  • One or more members of the Luc Hoffmann Institute Advisory Board.

Luc Hoffmann Institute staff will discuss the reviews and the proposal will be declined, sent back for revision, or accepted.


Figure 2: The Luc Hoffmann Institute proposal process involves a two-stage review and a collaborative approach to developing proposals.

Research outputs – the peer review process

All of our research products—such as publications, working papers, policy briefs, maps, and datasets—go through an external, transparent peer review process. This process ensures that the Luc Hoffmann Institute maintains the highest standards of scientific rigor while adding another dimension of engagement between academic and civil society. Externally peer-reviewed research published in independent, reputable journals is the backbone of our work.

Our published indirect costs policy is available online here.

Main image: Photo © Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon

Luc Hoffmann InstituteResearch Processes and Practices