Call for Expertise: 30% Protected Areas by 2030

The BES Policy Team has launched a project to produce a policy briefing paper looking into the potential and actual role of protected areas in modern conservation policy.


All UK nations have committed to protect 30% of their land and sea by 2030, which presents a significant opportunity and is a welcome commitment. However, whilst the current share of UK land and sea that has some kind of area-based conservation measure is high, this is made up of a complex network of different designations and the level of protection offered by most of these in reality is quite low.

The BES will prepare a briefing paper of about eight pages, which will add to the discussion around this target by summarising the most recent research on the actual and potential role of protected areas (PAs) and other area-based conservation measures (OECMs) in modern conservation policy. We will ground our contribution in rigorous ecological and scientific research, and for this reason we are recruiting experts to contribute to the briefing in different capacities. We are looking for researchers who specialise in the actual and potential effectiveness of PAs, as well as in the extent of protection and connectivity that is needed to reverse biodiversity loss in existing UK PAs.

The briefing will be prepared between early September and December 2021, and it will be launched in January 2022. The authors will have the opportunity to contribute to a workshop at the BES Annual Meeting in December 2021.

Please see the Protected Areas Briefing Terms of Reference for more information on the scope and the timeline of the briefing before applying.

Roles available

The application period for all roles on this project has now closed.

We are excited to offer the following opportunities to contribute to this project (please note that these are all voluntary positions):

  • Lead authors will be early career researchers with experience and knowledge of the topics addressed in the briefing, including PhD students and those who are within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training. They will source relevant information and lead the writing process of a section of the briefing. The lead authors will be supported by senior supervisors and will work closely with the project Steering Group.
  • Senior supervisors will be senior academics who will mentor and supervise the lead authors throughout the drafting of the PA briefing. This will involve regular meetings with the lead authors, as well as reviewing and editing drafts.
  • Contributors will provide evidence to be included in the briefing through a variety of different methods, including semi-structured interviews, written summaries and key references.

The deadline to apply for the roles of lead author or senior supervisor is 1st September 2021.

Project roles

Before applying, please see the Terms of Reference (ToR) for full role descriptions.

If you would like to be a lead author or a senior supervisor, please send the BES’ Senior Policy Manager, Daniela Russi, a copy of your latest CV, a 500-word summary of your current research area, career stage and any relevant writing experience, and a sample piece of your work such as an essay or paper you have written on this topic (the latter for lead authors only).

Please also indicate which one of the questions listed in the ToR you would like to answer. Feel free to suggest additional relevant questions if your expertise is not covered in the preliminary list of questions in the ToR. Please be aware that the exact question you will work on will be agreed with the Steering Group and the BES Policy Team in early September.

Representatives of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply to any of the roles listed above.

If you would like to be a contributor, or if you have any questions, please contact Beth Chamberlain.

Please apply by 23:59 on the 1st September 2021.

Why get involved?

This is a great opportunity to learn about work at the science-policy interface through working on a collaborative project with high calibre academics and practitioners across a range of career stages. Writing a report such as this, tailored to policy-makers and other stakeholders, requires a different set of skills to purely academic writing, and this presents an excellent opportunity to develop that skill-set.

Working on the briefing will provide a valuable learning or mentoring opportunity to all those involved, including specialised training led by the BES Policy Team, the chance to influence UK environmental policy, refine a variety of skills and be featured as an author of a high-profile BES publication.