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SEMINAR SUMMARY: “The Uk’s £12bn sector” Professor Steve Ormerod

10 July 2019

Here is a of a thought provoking and insightful recent joint postdoc academy / Bioconnect seminar from the 18th of April 2018 where Prof. Steve Ormerod (Professor of Ecology with Cardiff University, and former Chairman of the RSPB Council) gave a talk titled – “The Uk’s £12bn sector…”

Steve’s opening slide immediately invited discussion through displaying 45+ charity entities, including Cardiff University (which like all UK Universities is a registered charity)

He then went on to offer a breakdown of the staggering numbers and metrics around the UK charity sector: there are 180,000+ listed charities in the U.K., with a total expenditure of £73bn (put in perspective, as many things are, by comparing to the size of Wales suggesting that the figure in 1.5x of the nation). One of his main themes was thus “are we as a School, College, or University making enough of the opportunities that the sector represents”, highlighted by a further slide showing the top 50 ‘largest’ U.K. charities and their clear overlap that many of them have across the fields and research areas that the School is involved with. Putting all of this in some context Steve explained to the audience what charities are and what they are not, indicating that it is a highly regulated area to operate within but one full of opportunities for collaborative research.

The talk then moved onto describe Prof. Ormerod’s personal experience of a long relationship and leadership of the RSPB. Starting with an overview of the RSPB’s history, scope, and current activities, within the aid of some crisp facts and figures. His tenure for example oversaw major rebranding (evidenced change of logo and associated strap lines), an internal realignment, alongside involvement in a number of campaigns and conservation actions. A handful of these activities were presented as a series of short anecdotes to demonstrate the value of being involved with the charity sector and the diversity of activities there are within any charitable organisation:

  • Global impact
    • schemes such as invasive species removal
      • Gough Island (house mouse killing of sea bird chicks).
  • Public relations / dealing with critics
    • framing the considerable efforts in disseminating the work and value of the RSPB to the wider public
    • as not everyone likes charities and the organisation has to be readily prepared to limit the damage of media attacks, etc.

Feedback from the session was very positive and we are very grateful to Steve for helping broaden all of our horizons and stimulating debate.

Find out more about the speaker:

Professor Steve Ormerod, is a member of the School of Biosciences within the Organisms and environment division, and the Cardiff Water Research Institute. profile page

NERC DURESS project on river ecosystem services –

LinkedIn: /steve-ormerod-1a82a46/

Wikipedia: Steve_Ormerod

Twitter: @SteveOrmerod

The image of the speaker is taken from the School of Biosciences staff profiles page. Featured image built using Canva – design tools incorporating a royalty free image from their site.