The controversial topic of hunting is one of the first subjects to be investigated by a new research centre uniting experts from a range of natural and social sciences to help protect the future of the planet. The Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES), a joint initiative between the University of Aberdeen and the city's Macaulay Institute, aims to address "environmental conflict science". This would involve reconciling problems that threaten sustainability, such as opposing views on how to manage natural predators. ACES will work with eight partners in the EUR2.9 million (£2. million) "HUNT" project, which is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, to assess the social, cultural, economic and ecological aspects of hunting traditions in Europe and Africa. Ecologist Steve Redpath will head ACES, which is backed by £1.2 million from the Scottish Funding Council.