GWCT Scotland appoints a new Head of Research

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Dr Louise de Raad has joined the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as Head of Research Scotland and also Director of the Scottish Research and Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran, near Aboyne on Deeside.

Her work for GWCT in Scotland will include developing and overseeing all research projects and all research and demonstration farm staff. Currently, Scottish research staff include four post-doctoral scientists, two research assistants and four placement students.

She will also take on responsibility for managing all aspects of operations at the Game and Wildlife Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran, Aberdeenshire (GWSDF), including the farming, research, and the demonstration and outreach activity.

Louise joins GWCT from the University of the Highland and Islands (Inverness College UHI) where she was a Research Fellow specialising in behavioural and spatial ecology and wildlife management, and where she was leading the Forestry and Conservation research group. Her main research area investigates the impact of human disturbance on protected species and balancing human-wildlife interests.

Earlier she completed her BSc in Tropical Land Use and MSc in Tropical Nature Conservation at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and, as part of her post graduate degree, worked on the Zoological Society of London’s Tsaobis Leopard Project in Namibia, which laid the foundation for her PhD at Durham University where she investigated the cognitive abilities of chacma baboons in South Africa.

With a strong track record in initiating and leading collaborative, multi-stakeholder research that directly influences management guidance and practices and contributes to regional policies, Louise’s experience gives her a breadth of perspective that will be of huge value in her new role.

Rory Kennedy, Director Scotland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, says:

“Louise will be leading our research and demonstration activities in Scotland and will significantly enhance our scientific capabilities. This is research that informs and directs practical conservation and land management outcomes throughout the country.

“In addition to overseeing our wider research activities, her new role represents an opportunity to develop and lead a programme of research at our Auchnerran demonstration farm that will influence the management of upland livestock farms. This facility seeks to demonstrate profitable farming that supports biodiversity, while embracing the progression towards low carbon farming.”

Dr Louise de Raad said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be working for the GWCT and to lead the research team in Scotland. I am very fortunate to have worked at Inverness College UHI where I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge of land management in Scotland and work on a variety of species whilst turning my science into policy and management practice.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I am getting to know my new team better and I am looking forward to working with everyone to ensure we deliver the robust science that is needed to inform and guide our conservation work and farming and land management practices and policy in Scotland.

“I am committed to undertaking research to enhance the ability of farms and estates to contribute effectively to national efforts to mitigate climate change and enhance biodiversity through nature-based solutions and am dedicated to collaborative research and building a strong network of external contacts to help us do that.”