Early career essay competition winners

Photo © Vangmuang Phongphailath / WWF-Laos

Winners announced: Biodiversity Revisited early career essay competition

Biodiversity Revisited is the first comprehensive review of the concepts, narratives, governance, science, systems and futures underpinning biodiversity science since the emergence of the term in the 1980s. As part of this review, we ran a competition in 2019 for early-career researchers and practitioners to share their thoughts on one of the six themes (or as a cross-cutting piece).

We are pleased to announce the eight winners of this competition are:

  • Madhurya Balan, a Collaborator at The Forest Way and from India. Essay title: “Perceiving the livingscapes we are within“.
  • Natalie Knowles, a PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo and from Canada. Essay title: “When is growth good enough? Asking Nature when to cut consumption“. 
  • Eszter Kovacs, a Leverhulme Early Career Researcher at the University of Cambridge and from Hungary. Essay title: “Rethinking biodiversity before the law”.
  • Anselmo Matusse, a PhD Student in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and from Mozambique. Essay title: “The art of living in threatened worlds”.
  • Noor A. Noor, an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge and from Egypt. Essay title: “Sex, drugs and biodiversity: embracing intersectionality within conservation“.
  • Victoria Pilbeam, a Senior Consultant at Clear Horizon Consulting and from Australia. Essay title: “Revisiting conservation through evaluative thinking: towards a more impactful theory of change“.
  • Tlacaelel Rivera-Núñez, a PhD Candidate at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur and from Mexico. Essay title: “Writing over that which is already written: reconceiving biodiversity conservation in a second world according to the concept of ‘palimpsest”.
  • Santiago Izquierdo Tort, a Senior Researcher at ITAM Centre for Energy and Natural Resources and from Mexico. Essay title: “Biodiversity revisited: bridging aspirations and conservation in research and practice”.

Each winner, selected by the Biodiversity Revisited Steering Committee, has been invited to our inaugural Biodiversity Revisited Symposium taking place 11-13 September in Vienna, Austria. The winners will have the opportunity to share with attendees the ideas and reflections expressed in their essays and contribute to Symposium discussions. They will also have the chance to convert their essay into a thought piece to be published on this website, so look out for their essays in due course.

The judges were:

  • Prof Georgina Mace, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems. Genetics, Evolution & Environment. Div. of Biosciences, UCL.
  • Dr John Garcia-Ulloa, Senior Scientist. Ecosystem Management Group, ETH Zürich.
  • Dr Jasper Montana, Research Fellow in Human Geography. School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
  • Dr Chris Sandbrook, Senior Lecturer and Fellow. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • Prof Laurie Yung, Professor of Natural Resource Social Science. Department of Society & Conservation, University of Montana.
  • Dr Jensen Montamboult, Director, Science for Nature and People Partnership. The Nature Conservancy.

Of the 149 essays we received, 136 met our “early career” qualification criteria who came from 46 countries and we received an even split of applications from males and females. Approximately half of the authors were young professionals (e.g. practitioners or academics), with the other half being postgraduate students. Just over half of the submissions were cross-cutting pieces, the remainder focussed on one of our six themes

We wish to thank everyone who submitted an essay to the competition. Unfortunately, due to the number of entries we received, we are not able to provide feedback on individual essays. If you didn’t win but would like to contribute to Biodiversity Revisited, please feel free to send us a thought piece or get involved with the debate on social media using the hashtag #BiodiversityRevisited.