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Fellows Directory

William Sutherland

William Sutherland

Professor William Sutherland CBE FRS


Elected: 2023





William Sutherland is an ecologist and conservation scientist who has showed how behaviour and population ecology could be linked through game theory models of the decisions individuals make and that such models can then be used to predict the consequences of future states, such as agricultural change or climate change. This was summarised in his Oxford University Press monograph From Individual Behaviour to Population Biology.

Much of his career has been devoted to developing novel processes for integrating science and policy including horizon scanning and evidence-based conservation. With over eleven hundred named collaborators he has created the website (which reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of 3155 conservation actions), and a set of tools for making evidence-based decisions and embedding evidence into practice. This is summarised in his recent edited open-access book Transforming Conservation: a Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making. He regularly advises government and conservation organisations.

He was President of the British Ecological Society and made a Commander of the British Empire in 2021 'for services to evidence-based conservation'.

Professional positions

Professorial Fellow, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge
Professor of Conservation Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology)
  • Other
    • Science policy, Scientific information provision


Evidence-based conservation, horizon scanning, decision making, effective policy and practice

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