Interdisciplinary Conservation Network:
THIS WORKSHOP HAS NOW CLOSED.
The Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS), Stirling Conservation Science (STI-CS) and the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS) are pleased to invite PhD students and early-career researchers in the field of conservation science to apply to participate in a three-day workshop to be held on 26-28 June 2016 at the University of Oxford, UK.
The aim of this workshop is to provide PhD students and early-career researchers with an opportunity to collaborate with other researchers from around the world, including leading conservation scientists, and to learn key skills for the development of their careers. The workshop will be structured into three research themes, which will be complemented with plenary presentations by leading researchers in applied conservation biology, two sessions on conservation careers and key transferable skills.
The research theme sessions will give delegates the opportunity to collaborate in small groups to produce a paper on one of the three topics listed below:
1. Applying predictive approaches to conservation
While increasing attention has been given to evidence-based approaches to improving conservation decision-making and to evaluating whether conservation policies have been successful in achieving their stated goals, the success of conservation policies is still difficult to define or measure and can be highly dependent on the local social, political, economic and institutional context. Despite recent advances, assessing the impact of conservation interventions is difficult to do well, expensive and is conducted after policies have been implemented. As such, even if approaches such as adaptive management have been put in place, opportunities for improvements, time or goodwill may be lost in the interim. Consequently, the ability to estimate the effectiveness of conservation policies or interventions prior to implementation (either in absolute terms or relative to alternative policy options) offers the potential to get things right first time and guide policy decision-making to minimise the risk of unnecessary failures. Recent developments in this field have included the use of empirical techniques, such as scenario-based interviewing, choice experiments and behavioural games, and modelling approaches, such as agent-based modelling or management strategy evaluation.
Session lead: Henry Travers (ICCS)
2. Integrated inter-disciplinary approaches for managing wicked conservation conflicts
Conservation problems occur as part of complex social-ecological systems and have been described as “wicked.” These problems do not have straightforward solutions due to multiple feedback loops, diverse elements, non-linear dynamics and high levels of uncertainty. Conservation conflicts involve interacting ecological, economic, social and political elements, with dynamic relationships between these driven by the attitudes, values and power relationships of the associated actors. Inter-disciplinary approaches are clearly necessary to tackle such conflicts. However, few research teams approach conservation conflicts from the focus of more than one discipline. For instance, researchers may focus on a particular driver of conflict for which they have a strong understanding, or for which data are readily available or can be easily collected. Such approaches may successfully identify either the ecological or social drivers of conflict, but are unlikely to uncover the complex feedbacks existing between these elements, which are vital to understand if we are to identify routes to conflict management. In this theme of the workshop we will investigate conservation conflict as a wicked problem and apply complex systems thinking to examples of conservation conflict. We will examine how the inter-disciplinary approaches at our disposal, such as modelling approaches linking ecological data, stakeholder decision-making and ecosystem services can fit in with complex thinking.
3. The future for no-net-loss of biodiversity in the marine environment
‘No-net-loss (NNL) of biodiversity’ projects are increasingly being used to mitigate impacts on terrestrial ecosystems with more recent application in the marine environment. Current NNL research and policy have been environmentally driven, often neglecting to take into account the socio-economic dimensions of natural systems. While some aspects of the NNL principle will be directly transferable between terrestrial and marine systems, there are fundamental differences that should be considered. We will explore the similarities and differences in applying the NNL principle to terrestrial versus marine environments, such as: political constraints, socio-economic impacts and ethical considerations. We explore unique solutions to promote careful application of the principles of NNL to the growing area of marine offsetting.
Working in Conservation Sessions:
1. Career pathways in conservation
Early-career researchers in conservation science are often faced with the decision of whether to continue in academia, to work for an NGO or to try to carve out a space for themselves between these two realms. In this session, our panel of three eminent conservation scientists will discuss the choices they have made in following their chosen career paths and highlight the advantages and pitfalls of the different options.
E.J. Milner-Gulland has worked as a conservation scientist in academia for over 25 years and currently holds the Tasso Leventis Chair of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford. Her research is strongly founded on a model of building collaborative partnerships with NGOs and focuses on answering questions of direct relevance to how conservation is implemented in the field.
Liz Bennett has worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society since 1984. She is currently Vice-President for Species Conservation, having previously spent 12 years as Director of the Malaysia Program and 7 years as Director of the Hunting and Wildlife Trade Programis an Associate Professor Fellow at University of Queensland and Director of Science and Research Initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society. For the past six years, James has directed WCS’s climate change program, leading the planning and implementation of climate adaptation and REDD+ projects throughout WCS’s landscape, seascape, and species conservation programs. James’ has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on different aspects of conservation science. James was recently elected the global president of the Society for Conservation Biology.
James Watson is an Associate Professor Fellow at University of Queensland and Director of Science and Research Initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society. For the past six years, James has directed WCS’s climate change program, leading the planning and implementation of climate adaptation and REDD+ projects throughout WCS’s landscape, seascape, and species conservation programs. James’ has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on different aspects of conservation science. James was recently elected the global president of the Society for Conservation Biology.
2. Embedding your research in conservation decision-making
Conservation scientists strive to conduct applied research that will benefit decision-makers. This is matched by many decision-makers believing that scientific research should contribute to the policy and practice of environmental management. Whilst these two very good intentions exist across the science-policy interface, there remain significant challenges in achieving effective knowledge exchange of conservation research.
In this session, we outline the principles of effective knowledge exchange and will explore how you can incorporate these principles into your conservation research. We then delve into the world of policy decision-making, outlining the government policy systems of the countries represented by our participants. Participants will discuss and identify where in the policy cycle their research can have the most impact for environmental decision-making.
Transferable Skills Sessions:
1. How to get funded
Funding for conservation science is almost always competition based. As a researcher in any institution or organisation you will likely be responsible for part or all of the process to locate and access resources required to conduct your work. In this session we will discuss tactics for finding an appropriate source of funding, structuring an airtight proposal and impressing in a funding interview. Tom Mason and Nils Bunnefeld will share their experiences of successful and not-so-successful applications with the aim of giving you those all-important skills to pay the bills.
2. Everything you need to know about publications
Publishing in peer-review journals is a vital part of conservation science, not only to communicate your research to your peers, but also to help advance your academic career. In this session we will discuss all things related to publishing your research, from choosing your target journal, writing a killer introduction to set the scene for your research, the online submission process, being prepared for rejection. We will also discuss how to be a good reviewer and the benefits of becoming a journal editor. E.J. Milner-Gulland and James Watson will join our discussion to share their insights on publishing, as authors of hundreds of papers collectively and as handling and associate editors on international conservation journals.
Complete your registration:
If you have been successful in your application to the workshop please confirm your place by April 20th by processing your registration fees here
The University of Oxford sponsors this workshop enabling the costs of registration, two nights accommodation and meals to be offered at a heavily discounted rate of £85 for students and £135 for others. More information on the venue and accommodation.
There is funding for three bursaries of up to £1000 to cover the costs of attending the workshop. Preference will be given to prospective delegates from developing nations. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for one of these bursaries.