Call for Research Proposals: Special Issue on Biodiversity and Natural Resource Finance: Call for Research Proposals

Sponsors: The University of Cambridge, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Review of Finance. Programme chairs: Elroy Dimson, Marcin Kacperczyk, and Laura Starks. Venue and date: Cambridge, U.K.: October 9, 2024. Submission Deadline: August 15, 2024


Biodiversity richness and abundance of natural resources are central to economic prosperity and to cultural and genetic heritage. Yet many of these resources are subject to extinction threats, largely emanating from human activity. It is essential for the wellbeing of both ecosystems and human societies to preserve biodiversity and natural resources. Many sectors are concerned about risks resulting from regulatory initiatives, shocks to agricultural productivity, or depletion of natural resources. Examples include food, forestry, insurance, and real estate, to name a few. To the extent that they can assess and price these exposures, capital markets can help households and institutions to mitigate such risks. They can also exert pressure to drive change in vulnerable geographic locations, economies, and industries.

Capital markets research can spur the development and analysis of novel datasets, methodologies and findings that address these important issues that affect the welfare of current and future generations. To promote research on issues that bear on the financial economics of biodiversity change, the Review of Finance, with the support of the Centre for Endowment Asset Management at the University of Cambridge and the Global Sustainability Leadership Institute of the University of Texas at Austin, is issuing a call for proposals that will culminate in two research conferences.

The conferences will be organised by Elroy Dimson of Cambridge University, Marcin Kacperczyk, Managing Editor of the Review of Finance, and Laura Starks of the University of Texas at Austin. The organisers recognise that this proposed body of research is new and there are only a few high-quality finance working papers at this point. As such, the format of the conference will follow a two-stage editorial process, similar to the previously launched initiative of the Review of Financial Studies. The process is designed to encourage researchers to engage in innovative research on the emerging topic of Biodiversity and Natural Resource Finance.

First Stage

In the first stage, there is a call for research proposals. Authors are asked to outline the questions they will address, the methodologies they will use, the model framework they will explore (in the case of theory work) or the data they will gather (in the case of empirical work). Authors are encouraged to offer as much detail as possible on the research design and analyses proposed to interpret the results. The organisers are especially interested in proposals linking scientific data on biodiversity risk to finance and economic questions. Members of a scientific committee, the programme organisers, and the sponsoring editor will evaluate the likelihood that the project will extend our understanding of Biodiversity Finance and be a good fit for publication in the Review of Finance.

Researchers of selected proposals will be invited to a workshop, to be held in Cambridge, U.K. on October 9, 2024, where they will present their proposals to peer authors as well as other invited experts for feedback. The organisers expect 8–10 successful proposals to receive invitations to the workshop.

Second Stage

This unconventional two-stage process is intended to encourage researchers interested in Biodiversity Finance to engage in innovative research, gather new data, and think of new models in this frontier topic. The evaluation of the scope and significance of the contribution will be made early in the first stage, and the final decision of acceptance in the second stage will mostly be based on successful execution. Hence, the usual uncertainty about a study’s incremental contribution or fit for a top journal is significantly reduced after the proposal stage. In addition, for empirical work, authors of the projects can undertake the risky task of data gathering without concern that their paper will be rejected simply because the data did not support their a priori hypotheses. The evaluation will be made based on the significance and scope of the proposal and its successful execution.

Accepted proposals will continue to the second stage, which will take the form of another conference for completed papers in Spring 2025. This meeting will follow the standard finance conference format. Presentations will describe the original intent and actual execution of the study approved in the first phase, along with the results and interpretation of planned and unplanned analyses. Reviewers and the editor will evaluate whether the authors have executed their planned analyses, whether these analyses conform sufficiently to the original proposal, and whether the authors’ additional analyses and their interpretations are appropriate. A positive evaluation according to these criteria will lead to publication of the final paper in the Review of Finance. The usual standards for publication of high-quality scholarship in finance apply and must be met. If a proposal does not successfully move past the first stage, it does not preclude the possibility that a completed paper based on the same idea could be submitted to the Review of Finance using the normal submission process in the future.


We welcome both empirical and theoretical research, and encourage proposals by scholars from across disciplines outside of financial economics, as well as interdisciplinary submissions. Suggestions for research topics include:

  • Survey evidence on corporate / investor attitudes to nature loss and biodiversity risks
  • Metrics and methodologies for aggregate firm/project-specific biodiversity risks
  • Interaction between biodiversity and climate risks
  • Real estate prices and flood defences
  • Use of private capital to finance conservation and restoration
  • Monetisation of biodiversity projects
  • Empirical studies of ecological disasters (oil spills, nuclear catastrophes, etc)
  • Corporate exposures to risks from natural capital degradation
  • Biodiversity, disclosure frameworks, law, and regulation
  • Global biodiversity scenarios and financial implications
  • Biodiversity, natural capital, and asset pricing
  • Biodiversity externalities of shareholder or lender activism
  • Design of TNFD compliant funds and tracking error of screened portfolios
  • Agency, governance, and incentives problems that distort risk management of natural capital
  • Modelling the financial risks of stranded assets from regulations regarding natural capital
  • Equilibrium impact of incorporating biodiversity and natural capital in portfolio construction
  • Management of natural capital portfolios (forestry, eco-resorts, etc)
  • Financial / industrial development and biodiversity

The first conference will be held in Cambridge, U.K. on October 9, 2024 at the University of Cambridge. Presenters’ travel costs (economy tickets) will be reimbursed and accommodation will be provided. The second conference will be held in 2025 at a location to be decided later.


Authors should submit their proposals via the Editorial Express system ( between May 1 and August 15, 2024. Follow the standard submission instructions on the Review of Finance website, indicating at Step 6 of the process that this submission is a “Registered Report – Biodiversity.” Further, the upload in step 5 should indicate the authors’ names. The submission fee is €75. The organisers will not consider proposals that are under review at other conferences or at other journals which accept proposal submissions. If authors are uncertain about whether their proposal meets this requirement, it is crucial to alert the editors and inquire before submitting the proposal to the Review of Finance.

The proposal should be prepared in two files: one with a cover page including the author names, affiliations, and acknowledgements; and another as an anonymous copy, which does not contain author information and acknowledgements. It should include the following elements:

[1] Title and topic.
[2] Objectives of the study.
[3] Methodologies and research design.
[4] If empirical: data description, proposed tests, key predictions, and ideally planned tables.
[5] If theoretical: model setup, proposed analysis, and key conjectures or predictions.
[6] Timeline of delivery (that fits into the two-stage process).

Preliminary results are not pre-requisites for a successful proposal, but they are very welcome and helpful for evaluation. Proposals will be reviewed and selected for presentation by the scientific committee. Authors of papers published in Review of Finance are required to disclose code and data for replication. Authors whose proposals have been accepted to the workshop will be notified by early September 2024. Questions about the submission process should be addressed to the editorial office of the Review of Finance ([email protected]). Questions about the first conference in Cambridge may be addressed to the Conference Manager, Merve Karakas ([email protected]).

Conference Organisers
Elroy Dimson, University of Cambridge
Marcin Kacperczyk, Imperial College London and Sponsoring Editor, Review of Finance
Laura Starks, University of Texas at Austin

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