Fred Windsor

BES Grants Committee member and Lecturer in Ecology at Cardiff University

Why did you join the BES?
Particularly during my PhD, but also after, the BES provided me with lots of different opportunities for learning, funding and networking. My main motivation for joining the BES was to return the favour and help to provide the same opportunities to a new set of ecologists. I hope, through my activities as part of the BES, I am in some way doing this!

Why did you decide to join Grants Committee?
Working on a BES committee was a perfect opportunity allowing me to give back to the Society whilst at the same time benefiting immensely by developing new skills, knowledge and connections. So, when I saw an advertisement for an open position on the Grants Committee, I jumped at the chance!

What do you enjoy most about sitting on a committee?
Seeing the diversity and quality of research proposals from across the ecological community is one of my favourite parts of the Grants Committee. Plus, being able to help support ecologists in their ideas is incredibly rewarding and a great honour.

What kind of work do you do as a committee member?
There are a range of activities that the Grants Committee complete. We review the applications submitted to the BES two times per year, whilst also ranking and assessing which are able to be funded for each round. Less frequently, we also engage in other activities – for example, I have spoken at the early career workshops for the BES annual meeting and also provided ideas for the new BES grants portfolio.

How much time does it take up in your year?
Surprisingly little! For each grant round (two per year), we have a one-day meeting, which requires about 4–6 hours of preparation. Then there are a range of shorter catch-up and decision-making meetings all of which amount to around 2 more days work per year. Considering the benefits I gain from the committee, the amount of time I have to contribute is minimal.

Have you learnt anything from your committee work that you wouldn’t have learnt otherwise?
Through my position on the BES Grants Committee, I have gained a much better understanding of the breadth of ecological research in our community, and this has helped me to understand how my research and teaching fits into the wider field of ecology.

Who should join a committee?
Anyone would be welcome, and the committees are enriched by a diversity of thoughts, perspectives and inputs. Ultimately the committees help to shape the activities of the BES, so being interested and passionate about ecology is the main thing!