Andrew took up the role of Senior Research Social Scientist at the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) in 2020, returning to Australia having lived and worked in South Africa and the United Kingdom since 2002. In this role, Andrew supports and enacts government’s responsibilities by providing direction and support to the diverse range of activities undertaken by DBCA.
Andrew was the Assistant Director of Biodiversity and Conservation Science at DBCA from late 2019 to early 2020. He has previously held academic positions at the University of Stellenbosch and Rhodes University in South Africa, and most recently at Imperial College London, where he was a Director of the Masters in Conservation Science programme. Prior to entering academia, Andrew worked as a conservation planner with the (then) NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service on the expansion of the State’s protected area network and the development of systematic conservation planning approaches.
Andrew has worked and conducted applied conservation research and planning primarily in Australia, Namibia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. He has also participated in conservation research projects in northern Europe, South-east Asia, Southern Africa and North and South America. He has produced over 80 peer-reviewed articles.
Andrew completed a B.Sc. (Honours) in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney and his Ph.D. at Nelson Mandela University on the effectiveness of regional-scale, stakeholder-driven systematic conservation planning. His Ph.D. research examined the utility of integrating human and social data into spatial conservation prioritisations with a view to improve their feasibility, as well as the larger institutional and social processes driving the effectiveness, or not, of these initiatives.
Andrew’s research focus includes developing and applying psychometric tools and qualitative assessment techniques for understanding human values, attitudes and behaviours that can be used for monitoring and evaluation of conservation projects.
Andrew’s research has applied techniques from conservation planning, psychology, systems thinking and the organisation and policy sciences to assist government agencies to improve the approaches and outcomes of their conservation initiatives.
The foundation of Andrew's research lies in understanding the values, attitudes and behaviours of individuals and teams and the planning processes and institutions in which they work. This has included development of quantitative psychological instruments to improve the design of conservation strategies, for example, understanding the commitment of landholders to private land conservation initiatives, and the tolerance of people to human-wildlife coexistence challenges. His qualitative research has included applying systems thinking techniques to diagnose factors limiting the effectiveness of conservation initiatives, for example, palm oil supply chains and private land conservation programs. Andrew has also undertaken research into the adaptive capacity of rural landholders, social networks or subsistence natural resource users, institutional functioning and the design optimal mixes of policy instruments. Recently, his research has focused on developing techniques for understanding and positively adapting the attitudes and behaviours of conservation professionals towards learning from project failures. His early background involved research into integrating social and ecological information for holistic landscape assessments.