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Nick Murray wins prestigious Qld-Smithsonian Fellowship

Congratulations to Nick Murray, who recently won a highly prestigious Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship. Nick will draw on the expertise of research scientists at the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Centre to identify the international threats impacting Queensland’s migratory shorebirds.

The birds are threatened by a range of human activities in 23 countries during their yearly migration and they are now the most rapidly declining group of Australian birds. “The causes of the declines are largely unknown and several recent analyses suggest that threats overseas may be the principal reason for the declines,” he said.

Through collaboration with Dr Peter Marra, a world-leading expert on migration biology, the project aims to develop wide-ranging conservation strategies to reduce declines of Queensland’s 36 species of migratory shorebird.

Rob Clemens (left) collecting Nick's award

Rob Clemens (left) collecting Nick’s award

At the presentation evening, UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj thanked the Queensland Government and the Smithsonian Institution for backing the scheme, and congratulated all the UQ fellows. “Opportunities to gain global experience and connect with international peers will lay the groundwork for the success of research projects,” Professor Høj said.

  “I urge all Queensland-Smithsonian Fellows to make the most of this prestigious award and advance the potential of their work to bring practical benefits to global society.”

The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex with 19 museums in Washington DC and New York City, the National Zoo, research centres in the United States, Panama and elsewhere, a network of 20 libraries and various education centres.

 The Fellowships, valued at up to $30,000 each, were announced at the 2012 Science and Innovation reception, part of the bipartisan Science in Parliament program.

Fellowship support covers a return economy airfare for the Fellow and contributes towards the cost of living.