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UCL Culture Blog


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Our 20th Annual Grant Lecturer: Prof. Dame Georgina Mace

By Dean W Veall, on 15 November 2016

Last Friday (11 November) was our beloved founder Robert Edmond Grant‘s birthday. Should he have lived (and defied nature) he would have been the grand age of 223. Every year for the last 20 years, since the Museum opened to the public in 1997, we have celebrated REG’s birth with an annual lecture celebrating the great figures of contemporary biology, natural history and history of science. In the past we have had Stephen Jay Gould, Janet Brown, Steve Jones and James Moore give our lecture and most recently UCL Professors such as Anjali Goswami, Paul Upchurch and Helen Chatterjee. This year we are very lucky to have arguably one of the country’s leading ecologists give our 20th Grant Lecture…..

Professor Dame Georgina Mace

Professor Dame Georgina Mace

Professor Dame Georgina Mace

Georgina Mace is Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems and Director of the UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER). It may sound like overstatement, but Georgina is a giant. She led the development of the scientific work behind the criteria used in the IUCN’s Red List of threatened species – that is the categorisation of species as “Critically Endangered”, “Endangered”, “Threatened”, and so on. As a result, these phrases are now utterly commonplace: used by possibly millions of people every day – arguably Georgina is one of the people at UCL whose research has influenced real world science the most.

Subsequently she was responsible for biodiversity elements in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and was a coordinating lead author in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Her current research interests are equally important: measuring the trends and consequences of biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, especially in the context of climate and other global changes.

Georgina was President of the British Ecological Society (2011-2013), President of the Society for Conservation Biology (2007-2009) and Chair of the DIVERSITAS global environmental change program (2011-2014). She was Director of Science at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London (2000-2006).

Georgina was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2002, was winner of the International Cosmos Prize in 2007. And in 2015 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services to science.


Nature for Us?

For Georgina’s lecture she will be focusing on how our relationship with the natural world has changed over the past 50 years. Over this time we’ve shifted focus away from only protecting wild areas from people, and towards recognising what nature does for us. As pressures on the natural world mount and decisions have to be taken, these differences become important. During the lecture Georgina will present a brief overview of nature conservation and asks how priorities for nature might be established and implemented in our human-dominated world.

The 20th Annual Grant Lecture will take place on Thursday 17 November  at 6.30pm in the Darwin Lecture Theatre in the Darwin Building on the opposite side of the road south of the Grant Museum’s Gower Street entrance. This event is free and there is no need to book.


Dean Veall is Learning and Access Officer at the Grant Museum of Zoology

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