A. G. Leventis African Biodiversity Fellowship Programme

5 previous fellows standing infront of a colourful mural at ZSL.

This new Fellowship programme, launched in September 2021 is run by Professor Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity in the Department of Biology, and her team in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science. It offers NGO, government and business employees working on biodiversity conservation, as well as researchers in academic institutions, the opportunity to engage with researchers based at the University of Oxford, and to benefit from the training, resources and opportunities the University has to offer. The scheme offers the chance to spend up to three months at Oxford, attending training courses, networking and creating collaborations, writing papers, and developing ideas. It also offers remote support, training and networking opportunities before and after the time spent in Oxford. Successful applicants can spend their Fellowship in any Department of the University as long as their project is within the sphere of conservation.

Due to the generous support of the A. G. Leventis Foundation, this new programme will enable us to host three visitors per year*.

 

The programme will have three core aims:

  1. To support conservation practitioners in the local and international NGO sectors, government officials who are designing and implementing conservation policies, and businesses developing and implementing corporate biodiversity strategies to build their skills, capabilities and networks and thereby enhance their ability to contribute to conservation in their home country;
  2. To ensure that Oxford’s research is informed by, and meaningful for, real-world conservation issues, and is carried out in collaboration with in-country end-users;
  3. To build long-term relationships between Oxford researchers and conservation practitioners, strengthening Oxford’s ability to make a real-world difference.

Our vision is for this programme to leverage Oxford’s research strengths and advantages in terms of access to resources and networking opportunities, to support those working in biodiversity conservation in their home countries to build essential collaborations and opportunities. Visitors will be given vital time and support to, for example: realise the potential of their datasets, design and test their conservation strategies, to develop new ideas, attend training courses, network with potential collaborators and to share their knowledge and experience with their Oxford-based peers. This will benefit everyone: the practitioners themselves, researchers, students, and the wider university. Most importantly, it will enable more effective and sustainable biodiversity conservation into the long term, on the ground.

A comprehensive fellowship experience, the experience we provide for fellows extends far beyond academic inputs. Our programme considers their entire experience in the UK, offering opportunities to take part in activities such as visiting the many museums and historic colleges Oxford has to offer, formal banqueting in Oxford’s colleges, attending Evensong, punting, birdwatching, and other ‘tourist’ activities, not to mention becoming immersed in British culture, food and customs, and importantly, making long lasting friendships and collaborative relationships.

We ensure that visitors are paired in advance with an academic working in their particular area of interest, and they also get an early career researcher to act as a “buddy”. This benefits both the visitor and the early career researcher. This mentoring system ensures that our visitors have two points of contact, for academic experiences but also for cultural and practical questions, and for socialising.  

 

Previous outputs and successes

kThe Biodiversity Fellows taking part in our other schemes have participated in technical workshops and events: for example, in 2018 Edson Gandiwa took part in a plenary panel discussion at the UK Government’s international inter-governmental Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London, and, along with other fellows (Angelo Ramy Mandimbihasina, Kofi Amponsah-Mensah, Medard Twinamatsiko and Vivienne Williams), took an active part in workshops and symposia associated with the event.

Papers have also been initiated during the Fellows’ visits: for example Angelo Ramy published The illegal pet trade is driving Madagascar’s ploughshare tortoise to extinction, while Paulo Wilfred published Attitudes to illegal behaviour and conservation in western Tanzania. Both papers were published in Oryx.

A number of research grant proposals have been won as a result of the Biodiversity Fellows’ visits. Additionally, Fellows have secured scholarships: Kumar Paudel studied for an MPhil Conservation leadership at Cambridge University, while Divya Narain secured a fully funded PhD at the University of Queensland after completing her Fellowship. We are also proud that Caleb Ofori-Boateng went on to win the 2019 Whitley award for conservation, which he won for his work to conserve the Togo Slippery frog.

 

Who should apply?

If you are a senior member of staff, who would benefit from the opportunities offered by taking part in our programme and stepping away from your NGO, government, or business environment and commitments for a short period of time, to develop new strategic approaches, write up their ideas, or build partnerships, then this scheme may be right for you.

Alternatively, if you are at a relatively early stage in your career, and would benefit from the academic possibilities offered by the University of Oxford and the ICCS group you are also particularly welcome to apply. Particularly if you would benefit from learning new skills, analysing and writing up your datasets, and building an international network. 

*NB This scheme is open to Africian nationals only 

 

Applications are now open for the 2021/2022 Fellowship and will close on October 29th.

Please apply on-line here. Or using the form below.

 

 

 

 

 

For further questions please contact carlyn.samuel@zoo.ox.ac.uk