Professor Deborah Pain

Role: Collaborative fund selection panel


I am a passionate about the natural world and have been fortunate to be able to spend my career working in nature conservation. I started as an environmental chemist and carried out my D.Phil. at Oxford investigating the biochemistry of lead poisoning in birds. This has remained a research interest throughout my career, and I sat on the Lead Ammunition Group advising the FSA and Defra on risks to wildlife and humans from poisoning by lead from ammunition and mitigation measures. I have subsequently retained a place on the LAG which has continued as a voluntary body to collate, disseminate and synthesise new information on the issue.

I moved from Oxford to work for 4 years at the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat in the Camargue, France, in research areas including ecotoxicology and behavioural ecology. I subsequently spent 16 years at the RSPB setting up and managing their international research unit. This involved working collaboratively with BirdLife partner organisations in Europe, Africa and Asia on conservation science projects ranging from the impacts of climate change and agricultural policy on birds, to the recovery of globally threatened species. From 2008 I spent 10 years as Director of Conservation at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) overseeing conservation work in the UK and overseas, primarily along the East Asian-Australasian and Northwest European flyways, and in Madagascar. I am currently an independent conservation consultant, an Honorary Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of WWF-UK. I am a Council Member (trustee) of RSPB, Deputy President of the Science Council of Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, and am an Ambassador for WWT. I undertake a range of research, advocacy and teaching.