Rebecca Spindler
Bush Heritage

Rebecca Spindler bioDr Rebecca Spindler

Executive manager, Bush Heritage Australia

See Dr Spindler’s full research here.

Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • During her tenure at the Smithsonian Institution, Dr Spindler established the Smithsonian’s neotropical carnivore initiative that had and continues to have significant impacts on environmental policy and action in Brazil. These impacts include the establishment of new protected areas, the redirecting of damming projects, guidance on management of cattle farms, protected areas and waterways for greatest mutual benefit and crowd-sourcing of funds for large-scale land acquisition and management.
  • For 5 years, she led the Smithsonian’s China program, coordinating and reporting on multidisciplinary projects aimed at improving the habitat viability, health and reproduction of giant pandas. This program involved engagement and alignment with stakeholders across agencies including government, non-government and academic agencies with high-level, effective science, policy and conservation outcomes.
  • Dr Spindler led a restructure and strategic re-alignment of scientists at Taronga Conservation Society which generated great impacts on wildlife health management, national park management, council wildlife management policies, fisheries and tourism policy development, animal welfare policies, national park monitoring and assessment methods at state and national levels. The multidisciplinary team she developed and mentored continues to do great work today and is still focused on impact research.
  • She and her team work to support all areas of Bush Heritage, identifying priority areas for Bush Heritage investment, partnership and engagement across Australia. She initiated the Bush Heritage knowledge strategy and has driven an increase in science investment, ensuring projects are focused on filling knowledge gaps needs to address conservation management key challenges and drive innovation in achieving conservation and cultural goals while training the next generation of conservation scientists.
  • Dr Spindler is currently working across government and non-government agencies on a collaborative project funded by the Ian Potter Foundation to better understand environmental and cultural values at all scales and strata, to report on national and international environmental goals and to feed into triggers for proactive management of landscapes to avoid or mitigate damage from extreme environmental events.

Current academic employment and positions

  • 2017–present: executive manager, science and conservation, Bush Heritage Australia
  • 2020–present: adjunct professor, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2009–present: adjunct associate professor at University of New South Wales
  • 1997–present: research fellow, Smithsonian Institution.

Highest qualification

  • 1997: PhD (zoology), University of Melbourne.

Roles on government or regional organisation committees and non-government groups or networks

  • federal environmental biosecurity advisory group
  • Taronga science advisory council
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Science & Engineering advisory council
  • steering committee of the Australian Wildlife Health Institute.

My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present