This year I was lucky enough traverse the globe to the land of tea to work on my PhD for six month under an Endeavour Research Fellowship!
I started my journey at the end of February, arriving in London in the midst of a snowstorm affectionately called the Beast from the East. My first stop was the Space for Nature symposium at the Zoological Society of London, where experts came together to discuss the future plan for conserving nature through protected areas.
Next I travelled to Cambridge, where I was stationed at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with Rebecca Miller, the Red List of Ecosystems Programme Officer. This was a fantastic opportunity to gain a little insight into the inner workings of the world’s largest environmental network and meet the wonderful, dedicated people driving the organisation.
While often cold and rainy, Cambridge is a little city brimming with science history! I had a drink in the pub where Watson and Crick revealed the structure of DNA, rode my bike almost daily past Charles Darwin’s dorm room at Christ’s College, and spotted the one and only Sir David Attenborough.
After three months in Cambridge, I packed by bags again and travelled to London to the offices of Imperial College London (which are conveniently close to the Natural History Museum). There I worked with the brilliant Professor Mark Burgman, a fellow Aussie, and the Director of the Centre for Environmental Policy.
While the rest of the world stopped to watch the world cup, I was busy flying to Gland, Switzerland for the week. Here I was joined by the Red List of Ecosystems steering committee as they descended on IUCN head quarters for their annual strategic planning meeting. The team consists of experts from around the world, including my PhD supervisor Emily Nicholson! As the week progressed I learned all about the great work being done, and the future plans for the Red List of Ecosystems. I also had the opportunity to present my research to the team and at a Red List of Ecosystems Training Workshop run by the IUCN.
My last few months in London flew by with surprising hot, sunny weather and a storm of meetings. I got the chance to discuss my research and get valuable feedback from the top experts, including people from the Zoological Society of London, University College London, University of Oxford and the United Nations Environment Program – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).
Before long I was packing my bags and saying goodbye to my new friends and colleagues, but keen to return!
Check back soon for all the details on my research during my trip 🙂