Election of the next Master of Darwin College

Darwin College is delighted to announce that Dr Michael Rands has been elected to succeed Professor Mary Fowler as Master from 1 October 2020.

Dr Rands is currently the Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the internationally focused cluster of biodiversity conservation organisations based around Cambridge. He will take up the office of Master after the retirement of the current Master, Professor Mary Fowler on 30 September 2020.

After studying Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Dr Rands took a DPhil in Zoology at Wolfson College, Oxford (coincidentally Darwin’s “twin” College). An early career as a research ecologist followed, studying farmland biodiversity in the UK and developing innovative methodologies for increasing wildlife populations in agricultural ecosystems, some of which became enshrined in UK and EU policy.  In 1986 Dr Rands moved into international conservation, directing  a programme of multidisciplinary  projects in over 100 countries for the International Council for Bird Preservation, based at its headquarters in Cambridge. In 1996 he was appointed Chief Executive of BirdLife International, a global partnership of national conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity, working with communities towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. As the Director of CCI, Dr Rands heads an initiative which seeks to transform the global understanding and conservation of biodiversity through the integration of research, education, policy and practice . He is a Fellow in Management Practice at the Cambridge Judge Business School, and a Fellow Commoner at Magdalene College in Cambridge.

Dr Rands is broadly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to conserving the natural world; environmental governance and capacity development;  and innovative solutions to global challenges, especially environmental change and sustainability.

Commenting on his election, Dr Rands said: “I am delighted to have been elected as the next Master. I believe the College’s intellectually rich and vibrant international community - combined with its collaborative, informal and non-hierarchical ethos - make Darwin an exceptionally important and attractive part of the Cambridge collegiate community. I very much look forward to playing my part in its growth and development.”

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, who chaired the search committee, said: “We are delighted that Mike Rands has agreed to be the next Master of Darwin College. These are important times for our Collegiate University as we look to the future. Mike’s appointment reflects his commitment to education and research at Cambridge and his dedication to tackling the global challenges that we face more widely. We look forward with enthusiasm to working with Mike as our new Master.”