Senior appointments confirm science at the centre of WWF agenda

Posted on 18 January 2016

Two remarkable conservation scientists take on WWF's top science posts
WWF is deeply committed to using science-based solutions to take on the world’s biggest environmental challenges. As the organization enters an important phase of transformation, we take great pride in reaffirming the place for science at the centre of our conservation strategy.

The two most senior science posts in the organization – WWF Chief Scientist and the Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute – are evidence of this commitment. These positions work alongside WWF International’s Conservation Director to ensure that our Network-wide strategies, policies and actions conform to science, and are critical to our credentials within the broader conservation and science communities. We are proud to share the exciting news that WWF has appointed two remarkable conservation scientists to fill both of these posts.

Dr Rebecca Shaw has been appointed WWF Chief Scientist.
Dr Shaw comes to WWF with a sterling scientific reputation of over thirty years as a recognized thought leader on a wide array of conservation issues, including climate change, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.

As WWF’s Chief Scientist, Dr Shaw’s leadership will be essential for identifying the most important scientific questions that challenge our mission or that advance solutions that we bring to those challenges. In addition, she will recruit a new cadre of leading natural and social scientists to respond to the new challenges that our planet faces and the opportunities to address them.

Dr Shaw has published widely, including a number of peer reviewed works in leading journals such as Science and Nature, and is the recipient of numerous research fellowships. She is a lead author of the section of the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report that focuses on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, and serves as a member of the California Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel. She holds an MA in Environmental Policy and a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Dr Shaw has the experience, instincts and presence to knit together the growing team of scientists across our Network. She comes to WWF from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where she has been responsible for developing and implementing the vision and strategy of the Land, Water & Wildlife program. She joined EDF in 2011 after almost a decade with the Nature Conservancy California Chapter and after conducting ground-breaking research on the impact of climate change at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.

Dr Shaw will be based in WWF’s growing office in San Francisco, California where she enjoys a strong network of relationships built over many years, and where she will strengthen collaborations with WWF’s science-based partnerships with universities, businesses and individuals in the region. She will also guide the build-out of a more robust regional institutional presence for WWF in the United States.

Dr Jonathan Hutton has been appointed Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute.
Dr Hutton takes leadership of the Luc Hoffmann Institute with a distinguished career in conservation, development and strategic planning as well as a deep understanding of government, NGOs and the private sector.

Dr Hutton will use his considerable talents to connect the science and conservation communities to help the Institute generate evidence-based, practical and scalable solutions to critical conservation issues. Under Dr Hutton’s leadership, the Institute will be poised to achieve its 2020 goal of having its research projects influence important conservation outcomes in more than 20 policy and practice communities around the world.

Dr Hutton comes to the Luc Hoffmann Institute from the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) where he has served as Director since 2005 and where he distinguished himself as a leader by building the reputation of UNEP’s biodiversity assessment arm. He is an ecologist that brings 25 years of experience in nature conservation and rural development issues in Africa, including a major body of work in southern Africa where he took on a range of leadership positions directly linked to nature, natural resources and rural development in government, NGOs and the private sector. 

Dr Hutton has produced 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as dozens of reports and conference proceedings on a diversity of academic topics. In addition to a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a DPhil in Zoology from the University of Zimbabwe, Dr Hutton’s strong academic interests have brought him to be elected as Member of Hughes Hall College, Cambridge in 2005 and Honorary Professor of Sustainable Resource Management at the University of Kent in 2007.

Dr Hutton will be based in the Luc Hoffmann Institute in Gland, Switzerland where he is placed to lead the organization’s global research projects while helping the Institute achieve its mission of catalysing new ideas to solve environmental challenges that require a range of scientific expertise. 

Recent global agreements on sustainable development and climate change set the stage for WWF to position itself at the centre of international efforts to restore, protect and strengthen our planet’s natural systems. We are proud to add these two leading professional voices to WWF’s science credentials at such a critical time.

Both Dr Shaw and Dr Hutton will officially start on March 1, 2016. Please welcome these top science talents to WWF and wish them success in strengthening and integrating science as the foundation for all of our work.
WWF is proud to share the exciting news that we have appointed two remarkable conservation scientists to fill top science posts.
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