Susana Carvalho wins a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

(Photo – Susana Carvalho and Ranger Herculano Beca, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique)

Thursday, May 6, 2021


Dr Susana Carvalho provides details below on her project, which is entitled: ‘Deep(er) Learning of our Behavioural Evolution: Tracking Bipedalism and Predation in Terrestrial Primates’.


“Bipedalism defines our lineage, implies a shift from arboreal to terrestrial life, and therefore new relationships between hominins and carnivores: how did “landscapes of fear” influence early hominin behaviour relative to bipedalism and carnivory? This question has yet to be answered by palaeoanthropology; it requires integrative approaches using modern primates, fossils, and technologies that capture behaviour in new ways. I will use emerging technologies to record bipedalism and predation in a terrestrial primate, in landscapes similar to those where hominins evolved. I will integrate paleoanthropology, computer vision and ethology to revolutionise how we answer questions about our evolution. As part of the project, I’ll continue to train the first Mozambican primatologists and palaeoanthropologists who will carry this line of research into the future.”

This project is a collaboration with Professors Andrew Zisserman (Engineering Dep., Oxford Uni), Dora Biro (Rochester Uni and Oxford Uni), the British Institute of Eastern Africa (BIEA) and Gorongosa Restoration Project (Mozambique).

Photo credit – Lee Bennett.

About British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships

The aim of the scheme is to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from normal teaching and administrative commitments. The time bought by the scheme should be devoted to the completion of a major piece of research, and the Academy will also look for evidence of a clear commitment to a strategy of public engagement with and communication of the results of the research during the period of the Fellowship.

Award Scope
The awards support outstanding individual researchers and outstanding communicators who will promote public engagement and understanding of the humanities and social sciences. Applicants will be asked in their proposal to set out specific plans for the dissemination of their research to a broad audience, in addition to publication in the usual academic press and journals. Awards will be judged both on the excellence of the research proposed and on the capacity of the applicant to communicate with a broad audience. Applicants are invited to indicate ways in which their proposed programme will contribute to advances in understanding, including public understanding, in their subject area and to the identification of appropriate strategic priorities in the social sciences and humanities.

Eligibility
These Fellowships are awards to individuals employed at UK universities or other UK institutions of higher education, and the Academy is looking particularly to support mid-career scholars. The Academy takes no account of an applicant’s physical age or current status in determining eligibility for these awards. Rather, these awards are intended primarily to provide opportunities for scholars who have already published works of intellectual distinction or have established a significant track record as an excellent communicator and ‘champion’ in their field, and who are normally within no more than 15 years from the award of their doctorate. In considering eligibility, the Academy will make due allowance for applicants who have had career breaks, and for established scholars who do not have doctorates.

Grant Level
These Fellowships are covered under the Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime, but the Academy’s contribution to the salary of the Mid-Career Fellow will be capped at an upper limit of £80,000. It is not expected that the total value of an award will exceed £160,000 (BA contribution to FEC). Awards can be held over a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.

About the Gorongosa Project
Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique is perhaps Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration story. In 2008, a 20-year Public-Private Partnership was established for the joint management of GNP between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Restoration Project), a US nonprofit organization. In 2018, the Government of Mozambique signed an extension of the joint management agreement for another 25 years. By adopting a 21st Century conservation model of balancing the needs of wildlife and people, Gorongosa is protecting and saving this beautiful wilderness, returning it to its rightful place as one of Africa’s greatest national parks. GNP has been described as one of the most diverse parks on Earth, covering a vast expanse of 400,000 hectares. In recent years, the Gorongosa Project, with the support of Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), has ensured the protection of a recovering population of lions in this system, successfully reduced key threats, and has been recognized as one of National Geographic’s “Last Wild Places” and by TIME Magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Places – 2019”.

If you would like to schedule an interview with those involved in the project, please call Vasco Galante at +258 822970010 (WhatsApp) or email vasco@gorongosa.net.

For information about the Paleo-Primate Project, visit: https://gorongosa.org/paleo-primate-project/. For more general information, visit http://www.gorongosa.org. You may follow the daily activities of Gorongosa National Park here: https://www.facebook.com/gorongosa/.

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