Why We Need the Bio-Diverse Project.
Racial and ethnic minorities, Indigenous people, LGBTQIA+ people, women, carers/caregivers, and disabled people are underrepresented and underserved in biology and conservation.
Despite conservation being a global socio-political and biological issue, inclusion and diversity are severely lacking. Not only must this change on ethical grounds, but diversity and inclusivity improve science and conservation work. Diversity, inclusion, and role models are key to increase underrepresented and minority group recruitment and retention within scientific and academic disciplines. The Bio-Diverse Project aims to fill the gap in representation and contribute to the necessary change we are beginning to see within academia and conservation.
You can read more about our motivation in a blog post for Conservation Optimism written by our Chair and Co-founder here.
What We Do.
The Bio-Diverse Project aims to highlight minorities within biology and conservation by celebrating the diversity that exists and learning from those who pave the way for future scientists presently lacking representation.
Each year, we host the Bio-Diverse Festival. Founded in June 2020, the Bio-Diverse Festival is a scientific conference full of fascinating and topical science that celebrates and highlights minority and underrepresented scientists in an inclusive, safe, and non-discriminatory environment. The Bio-Diverse Festival is an inclusive platform for underrepresented and minority biologists and conservationists to share their work, inspire a new generation of scientists, network, and discuss topical issues in their field. This online event opens the conversation about the prevalence of racism, homophobia/transphobia, sexism, and ableism in this field, how they often intersect, and how we can solve them together. This festival welcomes anyone with an interest or career in biology or conservation.
Our vision is to create an inclusive, welcoming space for underrepresented and minority groups in biology and conservation.
Our ultimate goal is to no longer host the Bio-Diverse Festival. Why? Because it’ll no longer be needed. Every science conference will be inclusive, accessible, host a range of perspectives and voices, and represent a diverse group of individuals.
Tanith Hackney (she/her): Founder, Project Chair and Festival Coordinator
Tanith is a conservation ecologist and PhD student at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Imperial College London, working on invasive species, parrot conservation, and the amphibian extinction crisis. She is an advocate for equity and diversity in conservation and academia, and a member of the British Ecological Society’s Equality and Diversity Working Group.
Jasmine Trinder (she/her): Festival Co-Founder, Volunteer Coordinator and Social Media Manager
Jasmine is a Zoology graduate from the University of Sheffield. Currently, her research explores social and ecological drivers of brain size evolution in birds, and she is particularly interested in the evolution of vertebrate sociality and cognition. Jasmine is a keen science communicator who is dedicated to making biology and conservation inclusive and accessible to all.
Susmita Aown (she/her): Event Organiser
Susmita is a PhD student at the University of Sussex and NIAB-EMR, starting in her PhD October 2021. Her PhD project focuses on studying the ecology, physiology, and behaviour of meadow spittlebugs, which carry the notorious plant pathogen Xyllela fastidiosa. She is passionate about insects, her favourites being hoverflies and beetles. She is also enthusiastic about science communication and accessible science that promotes scientific awareness in the general public.
Aimée Brownlow (she/her): Event Organiser and Social Media Manager
Aimée is a recent zoology graduate from the University of Sheffield. She is a keen science communicator with interests in marine conservation, food security and climate justice. She joined the Bio-Diverse Project with a passion to make conservation a more inclusive environment, which is essential for tackling our climate crisis.
Philippa Steinberg (she/they): Event Organiser and Illustration
Philippa is a third year undergraduate studying integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. They are an illustrator for places such as the Innovative Genomics Institute, with the goal to make science more accessible through art.
Eilidh Scott (she/her): Event Organiser
Eilidh is an undergraduate in Marine Biology at Heriot-Watt University. She is particularly interested in the relationship between marine biology and climate justice. She joined the Bio-Diverse Project to advocate for diversity within conservation.
Rebecca Ford (she/her): Festival Co-Founder
Rebecca is a Biology BSc graduate and part-time Science Communication Masters student at the University of Sheffield. She is an intern at the university’s department of Animal and Plant Sciences, coordinating the ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ student audit of undergraduate modules.