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Insights from two decades of the Student Conference on Conservation Science

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Geldmann, J 
Alves-Pinto, H 
Amano, T 
Bartlett, H 
Christie, AP 


Conservation science is a crisis-oriented discipline focused on reducing human impacts on nature. To explore how the field has changed over the past two decades, we analyzed 3245 applications for oral presentations submitted to the Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) in Cambridge, UK. SCCS has been running every year since 2000, aims for global representation by providing bursaries to early-career conservationists from lower-income countries, and has never had a thematic focus, beyond conservation in the broadest sense. We found that the majority of projects submitted to SCCS were based on primary biological data collected from local scale field studies in the tropics, contrary to established literature which highlights gaps in tropical research. Our results showed a small increase over time in submissions framed around how nature benefits people as well as a small increase in submissions integrating social science. Our findings suggest that students and early-career conservationists could provide pathways to increase availability of data from the tropics and address well-known biases in the published literature towards wealthier countries. We hope this research will motivate efforts to support student projects, ensuring data and results are published and data made publicly available.



Bias, Capacity building, Cross-disciplinarity, Early career, Field study, New conservation, Student

Journal Title

Biological Conservation

Conference Name

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Elsevier BV
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (676108)
NERC (NE/L002507/1)
MAVA Fondation pour la Nature (14077)
The project was made possible through funding from: JG: EUs Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie program (No 676108) and VILLUM FONDEN (VKR023371), HA-P; National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) (203407/2017-2), TA: The Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT180100354), The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and The Kenneth Miller Trust, APC: the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC DTP [NE/L002507/1]), LC: Cambridge International Scholarship from the Cambridge Trust, FH: the Newton International Fellowship of the Royal Society, DM: the Australian Government, Endeavor Postgraduate Scholarhip, HM: Branco Weiss Fellowship Administered by the ETH Zürich and Drapers' Company Fellowship, Pembroke College BIS: the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC DTP[NE/L002507/1 and NE/S001395/1]) and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship, HW: Cambridge Trust Cambridge-Australia Poynton Scholarship and Cambridge Department of Zoology J. S. Gardiner Scholarship.
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