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Understanding language barriers and their consequences in biodiversity conservation

School of Biological Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The effective conservation of global biodiversity hinges on the smooth flow of scientific information globally, yet this flow is severely hampered by the existence of language barriers. For example, one third of global scientific knowledge is largely ignored at the international level because it is available only in languages other than English. On the other hand, about half of decision makers whose mother tongue is not English may not be utilizing scientific evidence that is available only in English. The TRANSLATE project, led by Dr Tatsuya Amano at the University of Queensland, applies scientific approaches to address this important, yet often overlooked challenge of transcending language barriers in science, with the aim of maximising scientific contributions to the conservation of the earth’s environment.

We are interested to hear from applicants who would like to work with us on this important challenge in conservation science. Potential topics include: investigating the importance of non-English-language scientific knowledge in biodiversity conservation and ecological evidence syntheses, understanding language barriers to the use of scientific knowledge in conservation decision making, and devising solutions to overcoming language barriers in science.

The University of Queensland, Australia, is home to the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS:, a world-leading hub of biodiversity conservation science. The PhD candidate will be based at the School of Biological Sciences and also belong to the CBCS. The Amano group is still new and small, but the PhD candidate will have plenty of academic opportunities at e.g., weekly seminars hosted by the CBCS, joint lab seminars with the Richard Fuller lab, and a number of other occasions at the School and beyond.

Applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements for entrance to a PhD program at the University of Queensland. Please refer to the university website ( for more details. Demonstration of excellent capacity and potential for research (e.g., peer-reviewed papers) is desirable. Being fluent in one or more major languages other than English (e.g., Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese) is an advantage, but not essential. Computational background is another advantage.

Funding Notes

Applicants will need to secure funding to cover tuition fees and living expenses. Both Australian and international applicants may apply for a competitive scholarship scheme. Scholarship schemes are competitive and only applicants with a strong academic performance (First Class Honours/Masters/publication in peer-reviewed international journals) will be considered. Selected candidates will be assisted to apply for a competitive scholarship. Please contact Dr Tatsuya Amano for further details:


Also see our related publications:

Konno et al. (2020) Ignoring non‐English‐language studies may bias ecological meta‐analyses. Ecology and Evolution.

Amano et al. (2016) Languages are still a major barrier to global science. PLOS Biology 14: e2000933.

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