Professor Nick Sotherton

Putting research into practice with the GWCT

Conservation of the British countryside and its biodiversity will be key research themes for collaborative work between the University of Exeter and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

The two institutions are strengthening links to share knowledge and expertise for a range of potential research projects, looking at topics such as environmental stewardship and the effect of pesticides on bee populations.

As part of the closer working relationship, Professor Nick Sotherton from the GWCT has been appointed as an Honorary Visiting Professor in Biosciences and the Centre for Rural Policy Research.  Besides helping to identify key areas for collaborative research, he will also be supervising PhD and masters students, and teaching undergraduates.

Professor Michael Winter, Director of the University’s Centre for Rural Policy Research, said the strong ties between the two organisations would aid research which will benefit farmers, landowners and the public. He said: “Building a strong partnership between the University and the GWCT has mutual benefits for us both. Sharing our knowledge and expertise will help us push forward research on important issues which can help us understand how to safeguard the British countryside and its rich biodiversity.”

The GWCT uses science to promote game and wildlife management as an essential part of nature conservation. It promotes its work to conservationists, including farmers and landowners, so that Britain’s countryside and its wildlife are enhanced for the public benefit.

GWCT researchers will be working with academics across a range of areas at the University of Exeter, including the Centre for Rural Policy Research, School of Biosciences and School of Psychology.

Professor Winter added: “There are many topics which we’ve already identified for research collaboration. The GWCT not only has expertise in these areas, but also has a superb track-record for turning research into real changes in land management and farming. With this in mind, increased collaboration has the potential to create high quality research which will translate into real-life benefits for farming, land management and the countryside.”

Professor Sotherton, Director of Research with the Trust, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Trust to collaborate with a leading university on wildlife conservation topics, particularly working on species that are found predominantly in the South West such as snip and woodcock.”

Date: 8 July 2010

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