The idea for creating a center at UGA dedicated to promoting the integration of social and biological sciences in conservation originated in 2003 with a conference entitled Defining Success in Conservation: Toward an Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Co-organized by Peter Brosius and former Institute of Ecology Director Ron Carroll, this conference was supported by a “State-of-the-Art” conference grant provided by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Subsequently, Dr. Brosius created the Conservation and Community Lab (CCL) within the Department of Anthropology.

In 2003, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a foundation with a long history of supporting global conservation efforts, decided to initiate an R&D initiative to reassess the effectiveness of global conservation efforts. In June 2004, Dr. Brosius was invited by the MacArthur Foundation to become one of six core members of a group charged with developing this new initiative. In late 2004, the Planning Group prepared a proposal for an $800,000 planning grant for the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context (ACSC) project (ACSC Final Report). It was approved by the MacArthur Foundation board in December 2004 and the planning process began in January 2005.

Just prior to the start of the ACSC planning phase, planning group members identified as a priority the need to create a repository for key documents and references relevant to the planning effort, and Dr. Brosius was asked to coordinate this effort through the CCL. As a result, during the two-year planning phase, the MacArthur Foundation provided funding for the development of a resource center to support the planning process. The CCL served as the ACSC information node, developing a website and database, and providing logistical and communication support to the planning process. MacArthur funds supported two graduate research assistants each semester.

Building on this foundation, as the ACSC planning process was nearing completion, Dr. Brosius began developing a framework for creation of a center that would provide substantive support for the ACSC initiative for the duration of the project, but that would also persist and develop beyond the five-year project cycle. He was able to garner support from the Dean of Franklin College, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Institute for Behavioral Research, and the UGA Space Allocation Advisory Committee for the creation of CICR. CICR had three support functions for the ACSC initiative: (a) active participation in the global research component, (b) network development, and (c) communication and information management. In September 2006, CICR was allocated temporary space in New College, and in December 2006, the MacArthur Foundation board approved the ACSC proposal. Thus CICR became operational in January 2007, with offices for researchers and administrators, a library, a seminar room and workroom for photocopying/scanning in support of ACSC activities.