ENGINEERING NEWS

Dean’s Seminar Series and ISEN Present Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy

The talk will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 14

Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist at The Nature ConservancyHugh Possingham, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy

On Monday, May 14, the Northwestern Engineering Dean’s Seminar Series and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) welcome Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, for a discussion on how applications of simple mathematical tools have transformed nature conservation at the Conservancy and around the world. The talk will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center’s ITW classroom.

In this seminar, “Decision Science for Conservation,” Possingham will explore the value of data and research in conservation. A foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, Possingham’s expertise is in ecology, applied mathematics, spatial planning, operations research, and economic instruments for conservation outcomes.

The Possingham lab uses mathematics to formulate and solve problems for saving plants, animals, and ecosystems. They developed the most widely used conservation planning software in the world, Marxan, which was used to underpin the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The software is currently used in over 150 countries by over 6000 users — from the UK and US to Malaysia and Brazil — to build the world’s marine and terrestrial landscape plans.

Possingham joined the Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental non-government organization, in 2016. He is based in Arlington, Virginia (USA) and Brisbane (Australia).

Northwestern and the Conservancy's signed memorandum of understanding is curated by ISEN and helps expedite collaborative efforts between the two institutions. Possingham's visit enhances a growing partnership between the Conservancy and the university that leverages complimentary research efforts, cutting edge technology, and public engagement in the Midwest region.