Next week I’ll be travelling to Queensland to join over 100 students set to attend the Student Conference on Conservation Science from more than 30 countries, reaching as far as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal and Myanmar. This conference will bring together postgraduate students from the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere to develop their skills and forge lasting professional relationships in this, the most biologically and culturally diverse region in the world.
With successful initiatives expanding from Cambridge and into Bangalore, New York, and now Brisbane, the Student Conference on Conservation Science is the only international series of conservation conferences aimed entirely at students. In the past 13 years, over 2000 delegates from 117 countries have attended international student conservation conferences around the world. The purpose of this Australian edition is to build a network of early career conservation science professionals across the Asia-Pacific region, and to provide training in skills and tools for regional conservation scientists.
According to conference organiser and leader of the National Environmental Research Program’s (NERP) Environmental Decisions Hub, Professor Hugh Possingham, one of the best investments we can make is to train and providing networking opportunities for young conservation scientists, “to strengthen ties across the region and allow for a community of thinkers to have a platform to discuss their research and ideas… and enable governments to make evidence-based decisions that protect biodiversity”.
Establishing professional relations between researchers in developing and developed economies will be essential for forwarding conservation science and improving its application, for minimising biodiversity loss in this region.
I very much look forward to making contact with colleagues from different countries that face similar conservation challenges. I also believe that the conference will help me to develop my understanding and skills for addressing these challenges and develop my research within a constructive, critical forum of scientists who are undergoing a similar process to the one that I am undergoing as a PhD candidate.
The bulk of the funding comes from The Thomas Foundation, The Australian Research Council, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and The University of Queensland. The conference has been organised by students and staff of the Environmental Decisions Group at The University of Queensland.