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Exeter researcher receives prestigious Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) Award

Dr Neeltje Boogert from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall has won the 2021 ASAB Christopher Barnard Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Investigator.

The ASAB Christopher Barnard Award is given annually to acknowledge and reward the achievements of early career researchers. This year’s award goes to Dr Boogert in recognition of outstanding contributions to the study of learning and cognition. The award will be presented at the ASAB’s forthcoming online Easter meeting, where Dr Boogert will be invited as a plenary speaker to talk about her work.

The award, named after late ASAB President Christopher Barnard to recognise the work of young scientists, also includes a research grant of £1000.

Paula Stockley, ASAB Secretary said: “Dr Boogert is an extremely worthy recipient of this prestigious award, and I’m sure that her truly impressive achievements will offer inspiration for many other early career researchers in animal behaviour.” 

Dr Boogert, a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow studying how early-life conditions shape later social behaviour and cognition, has recently launched a new collaborative research programme in Cornwall (“Project C-Gull”) on the cognitive strategies adopted by herring gulls to use human resources.

“I’m extremely honoured to receive the ASAB Christopher Barnard Award. I hope I can inspire young people to pursue their fascination with animal behaviour, and show that being a scientist and a parent do not have to be mutually exclusive. I also hope to draw more attention to mental health issues in academia and to encourage more transparency, diversity and equality in science,” she said.

Professor David Hosken, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the University of Exeter in Cornwall, said: “Neeltje is the latest of our amazing researchers in Cornwall to win highly prestigious awards from learned societies, and she thoroughly deserves this recognition for her outstanding research.”

Previous award winning researchers in Cornwall include Dr Laura Kelley and Prof Tom Tregenza (ASAB Christopher Barnard Awards) , Prof Annette Broderick (ZSL Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation), Prof Francis Wall (Geological Society of London’s William Smith Medal ), Prof Edze Westra (Fleming Award, Philip Leverhulme Prize) and Prof Martin Stevens (ZSL Scientific Medal) to name a few. Find out more about our award winning researchers at

Date: 15 January 2021

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