CEEDlings of promise are UK bound

Maria Beger, Jane Catford, Morena Mills and Roberto Salguero- Gomez are four very different researchers (Maria is a marine ecologist, Jane is an invasion biologist, Morena is a social scientist and Roberto is a plant demographer). However, they also have several things in common: they are all members of CEED, they are all passionate about their science improving biodiversity conservation and they all leaving Australia for the United Kingdom.

Maria is taking up a five year Research Fellowship at the University of Leeds. Jane is starting a lectureship in Community Ecology at the University of Southampton (in the Centre for Biological Sciences). Morena is commencing a lectureship at Imperial College London on Conservation Science. And Roberto is joining the University of Sheffield to become a NERC (Natural Environmental Research Council) Independent Research Fellow.

All four researchers have strong international research reputations, and have played important roles at CEED. And they are all quick in acknowledging the importance of CEED both to themselves, to conservation and to the reputation of Australia.

“Despite the geographic distance between Australia and most other countries around the world, CEED has successfully created a brand of quality research which, in my opinion, is internationally recognised,” says Roberto Salguero-Gomez.

“My three years at CEED has made me aware of the value of social sciences, economics, mathematical modelling and even my own specialty (ie, population ecology) in decision making. I feel that the skills that I have acquired during my time at CEED, including leadership skills, have put me in a position where I now feel fully capable of running my own lab, interacting with researchers from various groups and disciplines to tackle complex, timely questions.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jane Catford. “Working at CEED has been a great experience,” she says.

“It’s allowed me to work alongside some of the world’s top environmental researchers and thinkers. And, because of CEED’s strong international connections, I look forward to sustaining those relationships in my new position at the University of Southampton.”

CEED has been Maria Beger’s home for the past four years.

“To me, CEED is exceptional because it combines Australia’s top conservation scientists and ecologists in a very open and transparent collaboration, with everyone committed to making a difference in conservation on the ground,” says Maria.

“CEED has not only given me an exceptional quantitative tool kit in conservation science, I have also been spoilt with an extremely open research environment, and I learned about the importance of interdisciplinary work. I was given incredible freedom to pursue my interests and passions in marine conservation during my time at CEED, and this allowed me to build networks that have enabled me to make an important contribution towards the conservation of coral reefs and related ecosystems.”

And Morena Mills also believes CEED has enabled her to make a real difference with her science.

“CEED has been an incredible place to work,” she says. “It exposes you to a great array of scientists with different background, all focussed on how to best improve environmental decisions.

Additionally, we are encouraged to work in collaboration with government and NGOs around the world and help them tackle the most pressing conservation issues. I can’t imagine a better place to work as a postdoctoral researcher.”

It is the very nature of a career in scientific research to move around, especially for early to mid career scientists. In this case, the United Kingdom is getting four top conservation scientists.

“The demand for our quantitatively-trained early career researchers is strong evidence that CEED’s people – and their experience, skills and knowledge – are internationally sought after,” says Hugh Possingham, CEED’s Director.

“It also an indicator that knowledge created through CEED is being shared around the planet. We hope that researchers like Maria, Jane, Morena and Roberto will return to our shores at some point in the future. Having networks like CEED around will be important to attracting overseas talent.

“However, regardless whether they return or not, their engagement in CEED has made a real contribution to conservation science and practice. We wish them well and hope they stay part of the growing network of environmental decision scientists.”

Read all about them in Decision Point

DP#97_Page_19_Image_0004Read more about Maria Beger’s science at: Connecting animal telemetry and spatial conservation DP#97_Page_19_Image_0002Read more about Morena’s work at: Local implementation and regional conservation planning in Fiji
DP#97_Page_19_Image_0001Read more about Jane Catford’s work at: Setting environmental objectives in novel ecosystems DP#97_Page_19_Image_0003Read more about Roberto Salguero-Gomez research at: Tree of life reveals insights on plant variation

And check out the June 2016 issue of Decision Point. It’s a special issue focussing on marine conservation. In addition to carrying several stories on Maria’s research, Maria played a central

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