The Nepal Interdisciplinary Conservation Research Support Programme
Nepal is a least-developed country that hosts some of the world’s most charismatic endangered species. Nepal is also making remarkable progress in conservation, including through the efforts of a growing community of early-career researchers. In particular, there is new interest in social and interdisciplinary science approaches to addressing complex socio-ecological conservation challenges on-the-ground. However, many researchers struggle to adopt these approaches due, in part, to a lack of familiarity and experience with related methods, design, cross-disciplinary work and, significantly, difficulties in bridging the academe-practice gap. Moreover, many early-career researchers struggle to envision viable careers in the conservation, particularly because relevant in-country support and opportunities for international travel and study remain limited.
In response, youth-led conservation group, Greenhood Nepal, in collaboration with the Tropical Environmental Change and Policy Lab at Lancaster Environment Centre, is launching a new program to support early-career Nepalese conservation researchers, including advanced Bachelors students, post-graduate students and young professionals. It connects emerging conservationists with the domestic and international support they need to design robust research projects that help deliver conservation outcomes and further their professional goals. It recognizes that strong support networks and quality mentorship are critical to building meaningful careers, increasing retention rates in conservation, and strengthening conservation research and practice.
The Support Programme also creates new opportunities for international researchers interested in conservation in Nepal with potential to expand to the wider geographic region. The purpose of the collaboration is to provide resources for international post-graduate study or formal collaboration, and informal exchange of ideas and opportunities. We hope this will enhance collaborative, mutually-beneficial research and field-work, joint proposals, international travel and policy engagement. The Support Programme seeks to emulate versions of that experience for other researchers in Nepal and internationally.
Domestic conservation research platform
A Kathmandu-based platform will enable peer-to-peer support among early-career interdisciplinary conservation researchers in Nepal. It provides opportunities to share information and experiences related to research projects, policy engagement, funding, scholarships, etc., via activities such as:
- Journal reading club and “lab meetings” to serve as an opportunity for critical discussions and networking;
- Talks by peers, to share information, and practise giving and receiving feedback on presentations;
- Information-sharing via the Greenhood Nepal website, and
- Invited speaker series featuring national and international conservation researchers.
- Joint exploration for new funding schemes and scholarship opportunities
International mentor scheme
Early-career researchers will have opportunities to pair with international experts who can provide academic and professional guidance through long-term, meaningful, exchanges. This is likely to include support on issues such as research design, grant writing, project planning, data analysis, manuscript preparation, policy engagement, networking opportunities, international networking, etc.
Matching among the participants will be facilitated by the initiative, but is subject to the needs, time and interest of the individuals, with no predetermined expectations. The frequency of the meetings is to be agreed upon by the participants and subject to individual needs, but relationships should be “active”. Participants will discuss how best they can work together, and should have sufficient time and interest to engage regularly, whether in-person, via web chats, or email. Mentoring relationships can last for as long as the pair wishes, continuing even after original goals are met, with an aim to creating long-term networks, mutually productive collaborations and professional associations.
How to participate
Early career conservationists in Nepal should be passionate about developing new research in the social/interdisciplinary environmental sciences that addresses a current conservation problem. There are no age restrictions to participation, but members should be up committed to active membership, including participation in meetings and reading groups, for at least 1 year. They should have field experience in conservation research, and most will hold a Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. qualification in natural or social science. The group is coordinated by Kumar Paudel via Greenhood Nepal (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please send a resume, reference letter from a recent supervisor, and a letter of motivation that includes a brief statement about your research interests and the social/interdisciplinary environmental challenge you are working to address.
Deadline for inaugural group: Monday, 28 August, 2017.
International mentors can come from any country or institution, and have experience in applied conservation research in interdisciplinary/social social sciences, usually with a Masters or Ph.D. qualification. It provides an exciting opportunity to support junior colleagues in Nepal, develop new networks, engage domestic policy, and access to field sites and in-country experts. Mentors are coordinated by Jacob Phelps via the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University (email@example.com). Prospective mentors should send an expression of interest, including a few sentences about your experience and interests (e.g., methods, countries, taxa, specific conservation challenges, etc.), availability, and any details about the type of mentorship relationship you would like to develop.