My best publications have all involved CEED collaborators – I’m not sure I ever truly left.
Today, seven years after I first became part of CEED as an associate undertaking a PhD at Imperial College London, I still collaborate and publish with my valued CEED colleagues, so I am not sure I truly ever left.
Since finishing my PhD and becoming a CEED Alumni, I have gone on to pursue a career in applied biodiversity conservation research through post-doctoral and other institutional positions. I have been awarded funding for projects including a ‘‘no net loss’’ project in Uganda and a ‘‘business and biodiversity’’ project with the University of Oxford. I have also set up a biodiversity consultancy called Wild Business, which puts our research into practice. We have worked on numerous conservation projects throughout the world, from Canada to Kazakhstan. During this time, I also married my partner and had a baby, with a second on the way. In my first year with CEED, I organised a biodiversity offsetting workshop with Sarah Bekessy’s group at RMIT, which kicked off productive collaborations.
I greatly benefited from exposure to leading thinkers in decision science and working with such applied conservationists, who blur the line between research and implementation. In fact, my best publications have all involved CEED collaborators.
I think my best memory of CEED was the month I spent at RMIT in 2011, at the end of the Melbourne summer. We ran the workshop I mentioned and developed the ideas that would become three key chapters in my PhD. I met so many other interesting people working on related (or even unrelated) topics at RMIT and the University of Melbourne. I got out into the Victorian countryside – to the coast – cycling, hiking and wildlife spotting. I drank a lot of good coffee. I even had the honour of playing in Ascelin Gordon’s band.
CEED also strongly influenced the way I approach science, encouraging me to think more creatively and practically about my research and its outcomes. Back then, I was returning back to academia, having spent the previous four years in industry. The experience of living the academic life in Melbourne and working at RMIT that month was so intellectually stimulating – and generally fantastic – that I think it was one of the reasons I have subsequently embraced and pursued a career as a scientist. Yes, without this influence, I might have gone back to industry.