‘eighty years of promoting biodiversity conservation through taxonomic research, scientific training and international networks’

Harrison Institute, Centre for Biodiversity Research

Dr Paul Bates, Director of the Institute (left), with colleagues from the Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.

The Institute's recent Darwin Initiative project has been very successful. For example, the new destinations for nature tourists, which are linked to dolphin conservation, are widely reported and popular with tour companies, for example Tour Mandalay.

We congratulate Dr Pipat Soisook, our colleague from the Natural History Museum, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, on his 2016 Spallanzani award from the North American Society of Bat Research. Pipat studied his MSc and PhD as part of two Harrison Institute, Darwin Initiative projects.

previous PhD Darwin student, recently described a new genus and species, the Thongaree's disc-nosed bat (Eudiscoderma thongareeae), from Thailand. Institute staff, working with colleagues worldwide have now helped name nineteen new species of Recent mammal and a number of new fossil taxa.

We congratulate all our previous Darwin MSc students: four (Ms Pimsai Uraiporn (above), Christopher Imakando, Ngagyel Tenzin, and Daosavanh Sanaxmay) have now completed their research on rodents and one, Tshering Nidup, on amphibians. r

Dr Pipat Soisook and Dr Bounsavanh Douangboubpha have now completed their PhD research on bats, Ith Saveng is soon to follow. Ms Ariya Dejtaradol is also currently completing her PhD on birds. All are writing up a series of papers for international journals.


It is with great sadness that we record the death of our wonderful patron Chairman of Trustees and friend, Dr David Harrison. To learn more about his life, please see his obituary and read some of the many tributes that have poured in from all over the world.

Latest news

We are currently in the final year of our most recent Darwin Initiative project (2014-2017); it has been very demanding but also very productive: Enhancing rural livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through responsible tourism, Myanmar.

We have completed our previous Darwin project (2010-2013) Enhancing taxonomic capacity to underpin tropical biodiversity conservation (SE Asia). Outputs included 4 PhD and 5 MSc students and 56 papers, published or in prep.

For details of our recent CEPF project, including reports, see Developing policies for sustainable tourism in the upper Ayeyarwady River Corridor, Myanmar (2014-15).

In November, 2015, the Institute, completed its latest project funded by the Rufford Foundation. Please see our report on the project 'Promoting biodiversity conservation as part of Green Growth 2050 destination planning for Bagan, Myanmar'. We thank Rufford for their support.

We are pleased to announce that the Afro-Asian Taxonomic Network has nearly 200 members from 51 countries.

The programme of the recent, very successful international bat conference, 17th IBRC (July/Aug, 2016) Durban, South Africa) is available here.

In support of the recently published Myanmar Tourism Master Plan and the Community Involvement in Tourism in Myanmar, Paul discussed aspects of responsible tourism with a range of stakeholders, including the government, conservation NGOs, tourism industry, and universities.


The Annual Reports of the Harrison Institute for the years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013 , and 2013-2014 are available. These outline our continuing training and taxonomic research projects.

We congratulate our former Darwin student, Tshering Nidup on the ongoing success of his amphibian project in Bhutan. This conservation and training programme is sponsored by the Rufford Foundation.

We congratulate all involved with the launch of Bat Conservation Africa. We are proud to be associated with this new network and assist with the transfer of copies of the Mammals of Africa to 38 academic institutions throughout the continent.


We congratulate our colleague Dr Sansareeya Wangkulangkul on her the successful completion of her Rufford grant for amphibian work in Thailand and the project's first publication.

Welcome to the Harrison Institute

The Harrison Institute was founded in 1930 as a zoological museum, specialising in mammals and birds.

Today it is a UK registered charity (No. 268830), CITES listed (GB010), and its staff actively facilitate and promote biodiversity conservation through:

  • Conducting collaborative biodiversity research, with colleagues in the UK, Africa and Asia

  • Capacity building in institutions and organisations based in the biodiversity rich Old World tropics

  • Developing networks between scientists, conservationists and civil society

  • Promoting poverty alleviation that links rural development to biodiversity conservation.

The Institute is based at Bowerwood House in south-east England.

Website last updated on 2 April, 2015