Meet the Experts

Professor Des Thomson, Naturscot
Dr Deborah Long, Scottish Environment Link
Tuesday 26th April 14:00 – 15:00 GMT

About this event

Join us for our latest expert Q&A session with two of Scotland’s leading voices on biodiversity loss and protection: Prof Des Thompson, principal advisor on science and biodiversity at NatureScot, and Dr Deborah Long, chief officer at Scottish Environment Link.

Come along and put your questions to the experts as we explore what the biodiversity challenge means for organisations ahead of COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and what solutions exist.

This session will take place on Tuesday 26th April from 2pm BST on Zoom.

About this series

Meet the Experts events are a fantastic opportunity for motivated individuals and organisations to hear from leading experts in the field of climate change and sustainability, from scientists and policymakers to analysts and practitioners.

Each session is a chance for participants to gain new insights around a topic, discuss key issues and their solutions, and to ask questions in a safe and informal setting.

About the speakers

Dr Deborah Long

Deborah is Chief Officer at Scottish Environment Link and its strategic vision to deliver a strong, coherent voice in the pursuit of a sustainable Scotland.

She has extensive senior leadership experience in natural and cultural heritage in Scotland, and most recently led a multi-partner international consortium working with citizens, climatologists, soil scientists,and policymakers across Europe to gather, share, and use data on soil and land management.

Previously the Head of Plantlife Scotland, she built up the team in Scotland and managed conservation, outreach, and policy work promoting the value of wild plants and fungi in conservation and sustainability. This was exemplified through work with Scottish Environment LINK and the MSP Species Champions at Holyrood.

Trained as a Palaeoecologist, Deborah maintains an active interest in plants and growing and spends as much time as she can outdoors in Scotland and across the world, sea kayaking, cross-country skiing and hill walking.

Prof Des Thompson FRSE

Des is Principal Adviser on biodiversity and science for NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage) and Visiting Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Originally from Culrain, Sutherland, he undertook his PhD at Nottingham University and published his research as a textbook on the behavioural ecology of bird flocks. After holding a Liverpool University Fellowship, he moved to the Nature Conservancy Council to begin leading upland conservation work for the government and its agencies. Now with NatureScot, he is currently immersed in strategic biodiversity work and chairs several national and international groups.

Des has published widely and collaboratively on topics covering birds of prey, shorebirds, mountain and moorland ecology, and the state of nature.

He is Chair of the Field Studies Council, the UK’s leading provider of outdoor environmental education, and holds Fellowships of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Previously, he has also been Specialist Adviser to the Scottish Government’s Grouse Moor Management Group and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment, and Science.

Mike Robinson FRCGS

Mike chairs the Meet the Experts events in his capacity as the Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and co-author of the Climate Solutions Programme.

Also founder of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, he was a key campaigner for the Climate Change Act of 2009, chair of the Scottish Parliament’s working group on annual climate targets, and a member of the stewarding group for Scotland’s Climate Assembly.

He is currently chair of the Perth City Leadership Forum and co-chair of the independent inquiry, Farming for 1.5°C. He also sits on advisory groups for Air Passenger Duty and ScotRail, and the board of Transform Scotland.


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General Admission: This event is £4 for motivated members of the public.

Students: This event is £2 for students in higher education. Please sign up using your institutional email address to access this ticket type.


2:00-2:05 – Introduction with Mike Robinson

2:05–2:25 – Talks from Prof Des Thompson and Dr Deborah Long

2:25-2:55 – Open Q&A and discussion

2:55–3:00 – Closing remarks


You can tell us about any access requirements during registration for this event, which we will do our best to arrange for you. We provide automatic live captioning as standard at all Meet the Experts events.

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