Swansea zoologist wins prestigious Humboldt Research Award

Professor Rory Wilson holding a penguin

Rory Wilson, a distinguished professor of zoology at Swansea University, has been granted a Humboldt Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany.

The award is granted in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date, and to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Award winners are granted €65,000 to conduct research, and are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany.

A world-renowned zoologist, Professor Wilson’s work involves developing and using new methods, particularly animal-attached tags, to study the behavioural ecology of enigmatic animals that are, otherwise, difficult to study. He has been involved in work across the world, with animals as diverse as albatrosses, armadillos, badgers, cheetahs, condors, penguins, sharks and sloths.

In 2006, Professor Wilson was granted a Rolex Award for Enterprise for his animal tag developments. He was chief scientific consultant for National Geographic’s highly acclaimed seven-part series, Great Migrations, is listed as one of Britain’s top 50 conservationists in the BBC Wildlife Power List, is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and is also a member of the Academia Europaea.

Professor Wilson will collaborate with researchers working on animal movement ecology by using hi-tech tags which record the activities of wild animals in the minutest detail. By studying animals as diverse as birds, bats and badgers at sites across the globe, they will be seeking to understand how animal movements are structured and the extent to which there are cross-cutting commonalities in movement patterns.

On receiving his Humboldt Research Award, Professor Wilson said: “I am delighted and honoured to be given this award. It brings me into a distinguished family of academics that interact with each other within a very special and vibrant community”.

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