BUILDING RESEARCH CAPACITY in the TROPICS
The Harrison Institute has an international reputation for training, co-supervising, and conducting joint research with a new generation of biodiversity scientists and conservationists in Asia and Africa.
These biodiversity scientists are women and men living and working in the Global South, who are learning to meet the environmental challenges that threaten both humanity and nature. Some have been trained in the West. Others are conducting their academic studies in local universities in the tropics. All have a range of biodiversity skills. For most, their MSc and PhD research is taxon-based, especially mammals and birds.
The Institute works with, and enables these young scientists to develop further their skills. Through networks and ongoing mentoring, we help reduce their sense of academic and geographical isolation, especially for those living and working in the most challenging environments. Together, we try to ensure that this new generation can make a life-long contribution to promoting biodiversity conservation and become the in-country ‘go-to experts’ for national and international decision makers, the media, and other stakeholders.
Institute staff have been the project co-ordinators of four UK government funded Darwin Initiative projects and the project manager of one EU Erasmus+ project (MuEuCAP). They were also founder members of BCA (Bat Conservation Africa) and SEABCRU (Southeast Asian Bat Conservation and Research Unit).
The Director is a scientific advisor to WABNet (Western Asia Bat Research Network), which seeks to promote an understanding of bats and the transmission of coronavirus.
SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS
As part of a training hub in the Prince of Songkla University Thailand, and with other universities in the UK and worldwide, Institute staff have successfully co-supervised more than 20 MSc and PhD students from Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UK, Vietnam, and Zambia.
Several of the MSc students have subsequently won scholarships to study for their PhDs in UK, Europe, China and Japan. Two have been awarded the highly prestigious Spallanzani Award by NASBR (North American Society for Bat Research) for the quality of their research and publications.
HOSTING and CONTRIBUTING to CONFERENCES and WORKSHOPS
Institute staff have promoted, hosted and contributed to numerous international conferences and workshops in the UK, Asia and Africa.
The Institute helped instigate and was co-host of the first Southeast Asian Bat Conference and the First Southeast Asian Ornithological Congress (both now regular meetings).
It was co-host of the 18th International Bat Research Conference, which took place in Thailand and included over 400 delegates from 50 countries.
Many workshops have included practical training in aspects of biodiversity research and conservation, especially relating to bats, rodents and birds. These have been based in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zambia.