By Neil Collier
I joined Leuphana University in February of this year to work on a project investigating system properties that contribute to food security and biodiversity. ‘Mixed’ is the best way to describe my professional experience, but I suppose that is typical of most people researching sustainability and social-ecological systems. I’m trained as an ecologist and studied butterflies as a postgraduate at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. After graduating I returned to my hometown and spent three years in the Livelihoods and Policy group at Charles Darwin University (CDU). We worked on social-ecological systems mainly in the wet-dry tropics of northern Australia and other tropical forest biomes of the world.
A short stint as a credit risk analyst/modeller with a private company was soul-destroying and so I moved back to academic research. The most recent role I had in a university was working as a research and statistical consultant for Edith Cowan University. Most of the time I helped Master and PhD students with their experimental designs and data analyses. It was a very rewarding role but also very challenging. During this time I developed an introductory R course and trained about fifty students, postdocs and academics.
Prior to moving to Germany I spent most of 2014 as a beer tourist in Belgium, and trying to learn Dutch in a region that speaks an incomprehensible form of Dutch (Flemish). Lucky for me the Belgians are an adaptive lot and most speak at least three languages, English one of them. When I’m not working I search for interesting types of beer, take pictures, listen to blues, and dream about freediving.