Professor of Political Economy
University of Cambridge
Bhaskar Vira is Professor of Political Economy, at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. He is the Founding Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute.
Trained as an economist, Bhaskar’s research is concerned, in particular, with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need for scholarship to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices. His work brings a critical political economy perspective to contemporary debates in relation to ecosystem services and natural capital, and the values of nature for human well-being. Bhaskar convenes work on natural capital across the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), which is a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focused biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK.
Bhaskar has played important roles in science-policy processes linked with ecosystem services and natural capital, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters. Along with other colleagues in CCI, he is leading work on the role of biodiversity in natural capital, in collaboration with the Natural Capital Coalition. He is also leading work that seeks to improve the visibility of natural capital in the assessment and measurement of poverty and wellbeing at national and regional scales, funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation programme, and by the Economic and Social Research Council.