Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal (EFCHED)

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Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
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Tel: 01793 411500
Fax: 01793 411501

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  • ADS Collection: 1581

Programme Summary


What impact did environmental factors have on human evolution and dispersal?

The major objective of the EFCHED programme has been to integrate and strengthen UK research in human evolution. The rationale underlying the research and the timing of the programme was the acute awareness that studies of human evolution needed to be tied closely to the ecological and environmental expertise underpinning Quaternary science. The EFCHED programme was aimed at exploring the interface between the disciplines engaged in human evolution research. These include the classic ones of human evolutionary studies - palaeoanthropology, archaeology and palaeoecology - as well as emerging ones such as evolutionary genetics and palaeoclimatic modelling together with allied disciplines such as neoecology. The relationship between environment and evolutionary change is at the heart of EFCHED projects.


  • A new understanding of our position as a dominant global species and implications for our future.
  • An improved understanding of rates and scales of climate and landscape change, and how these impacted both on human evolution and dispersal.
  • A more precise appreciation of how human evolution is affected by rates and scale of environmental change.
  • An evolutionary context in which the results of post-genomic research will be understood.
  • The stronger co-operation between collaborating disciplines engaged in human evolution research.

NERC allocated £2 million to the EFCHED programme over four years. The first and only funding round of the Programme took place in November 2002, when a total of 11 projects were funded. Four tied studentships were also funded during the life of the programme.


November 2002: Announcement of successful bids from first Announcement of Opportunity
November 2003: 1st EFCHED Workshop and Programme Launch at the Royal Society
March 2005: 2nd EFCHED Workshop at the Assembly Rooms, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
November 2006: EFCHED end of programme event, British Museum

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