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Kew Gardens: The Role of Research in Driving Change

Date: Feb 19, 2024


Location: London, UK

Kew Gardens: The Role of Research in Driving Change Register

February 19 @ 12:30 pm 5:00 pm UTC+0

The context of Madagascar will be a backdrop to this programme, combining Kew’s world-class world in-country programmes and research (Madagascar is the only other place where Kew has offices). The Madagascar campaign hosted by On the Edge this year and why it’s such a critical ecosystem to support for worldwide conservation, and Forward Global’s 2024 Global Journey to Madagascar. 

This programme is recommended for those with interests in: 

  • How research can be a powerful tool
  • How science and data becomes impact 
  • Operating in politically challenging locations & avoiding pitfalls 
  • The intersections of conservation and climate
  • The case study of Madagascar as a critical location

As ever, this programme is designed to bring Forward Global members together to deepen learnings, connections and curiosity, with the backdrop (and fresh air) of the world-renowned institution that is Kew Gardens. 

This programme aims to: 

  • Showcase the value of world-class research including how, why and where – using Kew as a case study to look at the role of research and science of achieving social change.
  • Discuss how research can be a part of a compelling philanthropic strategy, and how one moves from research findings to implementation and action.
  • Tackle the topic of corruption and how to navigate ‘political’ dynamics when funding (and not be put off).
  • Bring forward the context of Madagascar (this year’s Forward Global Journey location) – bridging the shared interest from Kew, Forward Global and On the Edge (and Forward Global member, Beth Blood) on why this country is so fascinating and vital.
  • Connect with fellow community members, and gain insights into how other funders are supporting research / conservation.

Programme Highlights

  • Deep learning content with world-class scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
  • Learn from Forward Global member Beth Blood’s systemic conservation work with her organisation, On the Edge
  • Lunch with your Forward Global Peers at The Botanical at Kew 
  • Visit Kew’s vibrant Orchid Festival, inspired by Madagascar, accompanied by leading scientists
  • Explore Kew with peers as Spring approaches 


The session takes place on Monday February 19th, starting at 12.30 and finishing before Kew closes at 5pm. During that time we will:

  • Gather for informal lunch at the Botanical Restaurant together with peers
  • Hear learnings and shared discussion from our speakers, including scientist Landy Rajaovelona visiting from Madagascar
  • Experience the Orchid Festival accompanied by scientists from Kew
  • Share learnings, reflections and actions for your own work.
  • Opportunity to explore Kew Gardens before the programme starts.

If you have any questions, please contact Marie-Louise Gourlay, Managing Director UK & Europe, on


Forward Global Member Beth Blood, Founder and CEO of On the Edge (OTE), a media and conservation organisation producing original content about nature to help more people emotionally connect with it and, ultimately, try to save it. Before On the Edge, Beth worked in the financial services industry in Melbourne, Australia. She has a Master’s in International Strategy and Diplomacy from the London School of Economics and an Honors Degree in Economics from La Trobe University.

Dr. Alex Bowmer is the Director of Natural History at On the Edge, the conservation charity / non-profit organisation that reconnects people with nature through media and entertainment and works to protect lesser known, globally endangered species. It’s mission is to wake people up to the natural world and tell stories of species that are on the edge of extinction, in particular those species with very little conservation attention already. At On the Edge, Alex’s expertise helps to bridge the gap between science and communications, enabling the accurate representation of science and conservation in storytelling. Alex also leads our global conservation grants programme, which focuses on evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species (EDGE).

Dr Isabel Larridon, the Priority Leader for the Accelerated Taxonomy team who focus on documenting biodiversity, building the Tree of Life, innovating species identification and identifying Tropical Important Plant Areas. She leads the “Today’s Flora for Tomorrow” project in Madagascar which is working to digitise and make available preserved botanical specimens at Kew’s research centre and Kew’s partner Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza (PBZT).

Landy Rajaovelona, Madagascar Orchid Researcher and PhD student based at the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC). The overall aim is to develop a conservation strategy for the 1,000 species of orchids known from Madagascar, prioritising the most endangered species, and liaising with conservation agencies.