Director of Conservation Leadership,
Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Professor Nigel Leader-Williams's research focuses on building capacity in conservation through interdisciplinary research and teaching that sits within both natural and social sciences, with a focus on large mammals that conflict with human interests.
He is also the Director of the MPhil degree in Conservation Leadership, a full-time, one-year, masters course, aimed at graduates of leadership potential with at least three to five years of relevant experience. The unique features of this course are its delivery by a partnership between several university departments and conservation organizations based around Cambridge, and its focus on issues of management and leadership. Consequently, the course aims to deliver a world-class and interdisciplinary education in Conservation Leadership that is not available elsewhere. The course is based in the University of Cambridge's Department of Geography, which is working in collaboration with partners in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI).
Nigel began his career in research with the British Antarctic Survey, investigating the ecology and management of reindeer introduced early in the 20th century to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, where they faced a novel environment that lacked predators and intra-specific competitors. Whilst in his post-doctoral research with the Large Animal Research Group at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology, he went on to explore the ecology and conservation of black rhinoceros in Luangwa Valley, Zambia; where the rhinos are threatened by illegal exploitation. As Chief Technical Advisor in Tanzania's Department of Wildlife up until 1995, he established a planning unit to develop an information management system for the wildlife sector and to create policies to enhance the conservation and economic potential of wildlife. Between 1999 – 2009, Nigel was the director of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. His research group investigated conflicts between conservation, people and other large mammals, and built research capacity in biodiversity-rich developing countries.