Dr Robinson, a conservation scientist with a professional and academic background in wildlife trade research, policy and management, won this year’s award for her PhD Supplying the exotic pet trade: conservation and livelihood implications. She received her specially commissioned medal and cash prize during a ceremony at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative’s David Attenborough Building on 9 October.
The standard of applications for this year’s awards was described by Dr David Gibbons, Head of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, as ‘staggeringly impressive’ and the award winners as ‘the cream of a very impressive crop’.
Students from the University of Kent have won RSPB Conservation Science Awards on four previous occasions: three times for DICE/SAC and once for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science.
Dr Robinson said: ‘I am extremely honoured and excited to have received this award from the RSPB and have my work recognised in this way. DICE provides a unique and contemporary environment to explore complex conservation issues, such as the wildlife trade, through interdisciplinary research, and I am proud to be part of this.’
Her PhD used social and economic methods to investigate livelihoods in Madagascar, associated with the collection of wildlife for the exotic pet trade, and explore issues surrounding conservation and sustainability. She is currently working on a range of wildlife trade-related projects at DICE and teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules.
Prior to coming to Kent, Dr Robinson worked for the CITES Scientific Authority at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and subsequently the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Before this, she spent over two years in Tanzania and Madagascar conducting and co-ordinating field projects, specialising in herpetofauna and bats.
DICE is one of the world’s leading conservation institutes. It has now trained more than 1100 conservation scientists and biodiversity managers from 99 countries, and offers undergraduate courses in wildlife conservation and environmental social sciences.