ConSci Award Medal

Conservation Science Awards 2014

Conservation Science Awards

We offer three annual awards to recognise and celebrate excellence in conservation science.

Awards are given for: 

  • An outstanding PhD thesis in conservation science.
  • A scientific paper of high conservation value.
  • An outstanding contribution to RSPB science by one of our own scientists.
Snowdrops Galanthus nivalis

Award for an outstanding PhD 2014

This prize is open to postgraduates who have been awarded a PhD in any area of conservation science at a UK university within the last two years. Students will be nominated by their academic departments, before the winner is chosen by our team of scientists. The winner will receive a specially commissioned medal and cash prize.

You can download the criteria for nominating a student on the right of this page.

2014 Winner: Dr Elienor Chauvenet

Thesis title: Modelling the Dynamics of Translocated Populations

Institution: Institute of Zoology and Imperial College, London

The breadth and quality of conservation science in the 14 nominations for this award was impressive. But one thesis stood out from the others. Elienor’s thesis was chosen because it has already had a tangible impact on the conservation of a threatened species, and will contribute to the conservation of many others in future.

We were also impressed by the fact that within a year of finishing her PhD, she had published her entire thesis in highly respected international journals with one appearing as the Editor’s choice in Journal of Applied Ecology.

Award For An Outstanding PHD Winner 2014 Dr Alienor Chauvenet
Dr Alienor Chauvenet

Award for a scientific paper of high conservation importance

This is an award for a scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal that is likely to have a significant impact on conservation. The award is open to papers from around the globe, but excludes papers co-authored by our scientists.

The recipient of this award is chosen by our team of scientists and the lead author will receive a specially commissioned medal. 


2014 Winner: Dr Anthony Waldron

Paper: Targeting global conservation funding to limit immediate biodiversity declines

Authors: Anthony Waldron, Arne O. Mooers, Daniel C. Miller, Nate Nibbelink, David Redding, Tyler S. Kuhn, J. Timmons Roberts, and John L. Gittleman

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, 110: 12144–12148

Our science team nominated 15 papers for this award and after short-listing five, staff voted for their winning paper. 

Funding for global biodiversity conservation is limited, but some countries need more funding than others, because they have more threats.

Assembling a global database of annual conservation spend, they were able to explain differences in spend between countries remarkably well. Countries investing more on conservation were, for example, those with more threatened biodiversity, larger areas requiring conservation, a more effective government and a higher gross domestic product.

When taking all of these factors into account, however, it was clear that some countries were still markedly under resourced. Anthony and his colleagues identified those 40 countries in which conservation was most underfunded. Between them, these countries contain a third of the world’s threatened mammals, and many are in some of the most biodiversity-rich parts of the planet. The authors suggest that very modest increases in conservation funding in these countries would have a disproportionate impact on global conservation.

Award For A Scientific Paper Of High Importance Winner 2014 Dr Anthony Waldron
Dr Anthony Waldron

Award for an Outstanding RSPB Conservation Scientist 2014

This award is given to a member of staff who made a very significant contribution to RSPB’s science over the previous year. This contribution can encompass any aspect of the Society's scientific work, from initial ideas and innovation to the implementation of results; a one-off or a general contribution; fieldwork or deskwork; administrative, technical or scientific.   

Our science team nominated individuals for this award and after short-listing five, voted for their winning conservation scientist.


2014 winner: Dr Ron Summers

His colleague Jeremy Wilson wrote the following: “After a fishy start to Ron’s career, with a PhD on flounders, he quickly focused on birds and eventually migrated to RSPB in 1990. In almost 25 years as an RSPB scientist, Ron has given us the evidence to tackle some of the most pressing bird conservation challenges in Scotland.

These range from the impacts of persecution on hen harriers, and the ecological needs of Slavonian grebes, to forensic studies of the birds of our native pinewoods, and their responses to forest management.

Without Ron, the capercaillie might well be extinct in this country, and we would know little about our only endemic bird, the Scottish crossbill. His current project – a book on the ecology of RSPB’s Abernethy Forest nature reserve – will guide conservation in our native pinewoods for many decades to come.

Ron is a modest man, but his contribution to conservation is immense; long may that continue. In the meantime, there could be no more deserving recipient of this award”.

Award For An Outstanding RSPB Conservation Scientist 2014 Winner Dr Ron Summers
Dr Ron Summers