Dr Benjamin Allen
Senior research fellow, University of Southern Queensland
See Dr Allen’s full research profile here.
Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making
- Ecological effects of dingo control across Australia, 2008–2015. Project manager and lead researcher. This project represents the second-largest predator manipulation experiment in the world, conducted over more than 45,000 km2 at 11 sites in three states. At the time it was also the highest-inference (or most scientifically robust) study ever conducted on the subject in Australia. Implementing the project required managing public and industry investment and expectations from multiple stakeholders including governments, industry bodies and landholders. The primary goal of the project was to assess the responses of mammal, bird and reptile communities to the control of invasive predators at large, operational scales. The outcomes of the research informed the policy described in the current National Wild Dog Action Plan, which has been adopted by all state and territory governments and the Australian Government. The work also informed subsequent national research and development priorities for invasive predator control across the Australian rangelands.
- Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) development and registration and International Animal Welfare Certification, 2011–2019. Lead researcher. Dr Allen was a key member of the national PAPP development team, responsible for delivering research demonstrating the efficacy, environmental safety and humaneness of PAPP for the control of invasive predators. PAPP-poison baits were nationally registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in 2016 and PAPP capsules were registered in 2019. Both are now used across Australia to humanely protect livestock and threatened fauna assets in multiple landscapes. With the availability of these new tools complete, Dr Allen then worked directly with leading beef companies, wholesalers and compliance auditors to obtain international animal welfare certification for beef products, enabling the export of Australian beef into lucrative new markets in the USA and internationally. The management planning, traceability and auditable nature of the work ensures a transparent supply chain to concerned consumers and regulators both nationally and internationally.
- Environmental costs and benefits of cluster fences, 2013–present. Lead researcher. This project advances the work conducted in the ‘Ecological effects of dingo control across Australia, 2008–2015’ project, superseding this previous project to again represent the highest-inference (or most scientifically robust) study ever conducted on the subject in Australia. The cross-disciplinary work has specific outcomes for agriculture, environment, rural development and threatened species. This project has been running for over 6 years and is still underway, but results from the project have already been used to inform the funding guidelines associated with state and Australian Government drought relief investment into rural areas in several states. Continuation of this work is expected to further guide government funding mechanisms to support drought recovery and environmental management practices across the rangelands through the 2020s and beyond.
Current academic employment and positions
- 2015–present: senior research fellow, University of Southern Queensland (Australia)
- 2019–present: research associate, Nelson Mandela University (South Africa)
- 2018: international research fellow, National Research Foundation (ARC equivalent; South Africa)
- 2013–2015: project leader, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- 2020–present: coordinator, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) canid specialist group – dingo working group.
- 2015: PhD, University of Queensland.
Major prizes, medals and honours
- 2015: Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Dave Choquenot Prize for Excellence in Science
- 2017: University of Southern Queensland, Excellence for Early Career Research
- 2019: Australian Institute of Policy and Science, Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award
- 2019: Australian Academy of Science, Graeme Caughley Travelling Fellowship.
Roles on government or regional organisation committees
- Dr Allen was the South Australian representative on the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group, which reported to the Vertebrate Pest Committee of the Australian Government, from 2008 to 2012 until moving interstate and relinquishing the position. In this role, he helped establish the National Wild Dog Action Plan. He is currently a member of the Fraser Island dingo working group, responsible for providing strategic policy advice to the Queensland Government on matters relating to the conservation and management of wildlife. This role extends to regular, direct contract research funding to deliver targeted science outcomes of interest to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Dr Allen is also a member of the IUCN canid specialist group (an international body responsible for advising on canid conservation and management at international scales) and founded and currently leads the dingo working group, responsible for oversight of dingo-related issues in Australia, Papua New Guinea and south-east Asia.
Links with non-government groups or networks
- Dr Allen is the international partnerships officer and immediate past vice-president of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, responsible for developing formal and informal links with international wildlife research and management institutions, including industry representative bodies, governments, universities and non-government organisations. In this capacity, Dr Allen has created formal partnerships with the Southern African Wildlife Management Association, and is currently finalising formal partnerships with the National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Forests and Environment in Nepal, and the University of Papua New Guinea. Dr Allen also regularly contributes to regional livestock research, development and extension advisory committees in Australia, including the Southern Australia Livestock Research Council and the North Australia Beef Research Council Inc., administered by Meat and Livestock Australia.
Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present