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The Social Science Working Group

The Social Science Working Group (SSWG) of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) is a global community of conservation scientists and practitioners. Since the SSWG was established in 2003, we have been deeply committed to strengthening conservation social science and its application to conservation practice around the globe. SSWG is administered by a Board of Directors and various Board Committees. SSWG catalyzes forums and mechanisms for information exchange, promotes dialogue and debate, shares career opportunities and builds social science capacity among conservation practitioners. Learn more about us.

Please read our Letter to the Community regarding SSWG's stance on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) - we also welcome your ideas and engagement going forward.

The SSWG Conservation Social Science Mentoring Program applications are open!

Conservation social sciences continue to be increasingly relied upon in conservation science research. However, students who want to use social science methods as part of their research, especially those in interdisciplinary labs, can at times struggle to find the right experts to guide them. Conservation social sciences students may also be challenged in identifying appropriate careers paths after completing their studies. Further, BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) community students and female students pursuing conservation social science face systemic barriers and inequities to achieving their goals.

To counter these challenges and increase support for conservation social science students, the Student Affairs Committee (StAC) of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Social Science Working Group (SSWG) is launching a Conservation Social Science Mentoring Program. 

The overarching aims of the mentoring program is to build relationships and improve support networks between those that study, research, and/or practice conservation social science, and raise the profile and robustness of social science within the broader conservation community. By connecting students with mentors experienced in social science, the program will not only support students in their application of social science research methods but also aid them in preparing for a conservation social science career, whether that be in academia, government, nongovernmental organisations, or the private sector. This program will also provide opportunities, if requested, for students of BIPOC communities and female students to be mentored by BIPOC mentors and/or female mentors willing to share their experiences navigating barriers during their conservation career.

Our goals for the SSWG Mentoring Program are:

  1. To help provide students guidance on how to gain a better grounding in the theory and practice of social science within conservation
  2. To help build networks within the conservation social science community
  3. To raise the profile and robustness of social science within conservation
  4. To help students from BIPOC and LGTBQ+ communities and female students navigate barriers in conservation and academia

What do I get out of it?
For mentees: It’s a chance for you to connect and learn from someone with experience in the conservation social sciences who can help you progress in your career.
For mentors: This is a chance for you to provide advice and feedback to a student who can really use your help and contribute to the SSWG community. It’s also a chance to learn new things and improve your own leadership and management skills.
What’s the time commitment?
It’s mostly up to each pair to decide how much you want to connect, but we envision most mentorships involve monthly communication via whatever communication channel suits you.
Who can sign-up?

Anyone in conservation social science, whether graduate student, professional or retired! Since this is a pilot mentoring program we are only accepting 30 pairings into the first group/cohort of mentors and mentees (graduate students), but we strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the program to sign-up. Online application period starts September 25th and closes October 15th, 2020

Apply here for the mentoring program

If you have any questions please get in touch with the SSWG Mentoring Program coordinator Nick Harvey by email: 

Connect with SSWG


Twitter:              @SCB_SSWG, #consocsci