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Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Miriam Rothschild Professorship of Conservation Biology

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The conservation of this planet's threatened and dwindling wild life is one of the greatest challenges now facing humanity; the response of Cambridge to this challenge has been impressive. The city and its surrounds are now home to the headquarters of many conservation organizations such as the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, BirdLife International, Flora and Fauna International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and the International Whaling Commission. Many Departments within the University including Zoology, Plant Sciences, Geography, Land Economy, Earth Sciences, and Economics are involved in Conservation and they are linked within the University by the Cambridge Environmental Initiative (CEI). The Cambridge Conservation Forum links the universities in Cambridge with the locally based conservation organizations, with industry, with research organizations such as the British Antarctic Survey, and teaching organizations such as the Tropical Biology Association.

2. The Department of Zoology at Cambridge was rated 5* in the last two Research Assessment Exercises. The Department's diverse research is linked by the theme of evolution involving research groups in Conservation Biology, Behaviour, Behavioural Ecology, and the Museum of Zoology, which are central to the proposals of this Report. The conservation research group has grown to 16 people in five years and hosts two seconded fellows from RSPB and BirdLife International, and fellows sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and the World Bank. The Department also has close links with the conservation and research activities of the Zoological Society of London, through a formal agreement with the Institute of Zoology. The Department's teaching is of very high quality and in the latest QAA subject review scored 24 for both its Organismal and Molecular Bioscience teaching. The Part II class is the largest in Biology and is only just second to Physics in Natural Sciences as a whole; the Department offers a third-year course in Conservation Biology that is taken by some 50 students. The Department has hosted and helped to sponsor an annual, international student conference on Conservation Biology, now in it seventh year, attended each year by around 150 young conservation scientists and practitioners drawn from more than 40 countries.

3. An opportunity to further develop work in this area has now arisen as the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund wishes to endow the establishment of a new Professorship. It is to be called the Miriam Rothschild Professorship of Conservation Biology, in honour of the enormous contribution and passion which the eminent entomologist brought to the subject over her very long scientific life. The Fund has generously agreed to donate to the University the sum of at least £3.8m to endow the proposed Professorship. In addition, a second gift provides for research studentships and travel bursaries for students. The Council of the School of the Biological Sciences and the Faculty Board of Biology have endorsed the proposal and have recommended that the new Professorship be established and assigned to the Department of Zoology.1 The Department expect the new Professor will provide the underpinning science for conservation, will inform the actions of conservation practitioners and the advice given to industry and to government on policy, and will meet the teaching needs created by the success of courses in the Department, particularly in Conservation Biology. The Faculty Board have confirmed that suitable accommodation is available for the new Professor in the Department.

4. The General Board are assured that the Professorship can be expected to attract an excellent field of candidates. The Board have agreed that election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that, on this first occasion, candidature be open without limitation or preference to all candidates whose work falls within the title of the office.

5. The General Board recommend:

I. That a Miriam Rothschild Professorship of Conservation Biology be established in the University from 1 October 2006, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Zoology.

II. That regulations for the Miriam Rothschild Fund for Conservation Biology, as set out in the Schedule to this Report, be approved.

30 November 2005ALISON RICHARD, Vice-ChancellorM. J. DAUNTONROGER PARKER
 H. A. CHASE  


Miriam Rothschild Professorship of Conservation Biology.   2006.   Zoology

1. The sum received from the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund for the endowment of a Professorship of Conservation Biology shall form a fund called the Miriam Rothschild Fund for Conservation Biology.

2. If and whenever the income of the Fund exceeds the amount required for the payment of the stipend, national insurance, pension contributions, and associated indirect costs of the Professor payable by the University, the excess of the income over that amount shall be applied to support the work of the Professor in such a manner as may be approved by the General Board on the recommendation of the Head of the Department of Zoology or that of any other Department or Faculty in which the Professorship is then held.

3. Any unexpended income in a financial year shall, in any subsequent year, be expended in accordance with Regulation 2.

4. On the occasion of a vacancy in the Professorship, the General Board shall consult the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences in accordance with Statute D, XV, 17, as to whether the assignment or its field should be reviewed for the next tenure.

1 See proposed Regulation 4 for the Professorship.

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Cambridge University Reporter 14 December 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.