Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Philip McGowan

Professor of Conservation Science and Policy


Phil has worked for many years in international species conservation. His research on critically endangered species spans countries in Asia, Africa and South America with areas of study in India, Nepal, China and Brazil. His research assesses endangered species and indicators of biodiversity and ecology, particularly Galliformes, an order of birds that includes turkeys, pheasants, grouse and the wild ancestor of the chicken. 25% of Galliformes are currently at risk of extinction, typically because of people hunting them for food, and, because of this are thought to be important indicators of overall pressures facing bird species.

Before joining Newcastle University in 2013 Phil worked with a large network, especially in Asia, to assess the conservation status of bird species in order to build better conservation projects and improve policy responses to increase biodiversity. Since methods for surveying bird populations have advanced significantly, the improved ability to assess bird populations can inform measures to increase biodiversity and improve conservation efforts. Phil has a special interest in evidence-based species conservation that looks more broadly and systematically at species research to inform policy. Phil served as Co-chair of the SSC Policy Subcommittee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature until 2016 and has extensive experience in the interface between policy and science to develop strategies to safeguard species and their habitats.