Facilitated Research Program

Facilitating both undergraduate and graduate students from a wide range of disciplines

The ALERT Facilitated Research Program (FRP)

The ALERT Facilitated Research Program (FRP) offers unique opportunities for study.  We are able to facilitate both undergraduate and graduate students from a wide range of disciplines; providing support throughout your research process.

From the moment you contact us with your research idea a network of support and guidance is available to enable you to complete your study to the highest possible standard.

Our experienced team will assist you in the process of turning your concept into a workable proposal based on our first-hand knowledge of our project sites and to ensure that your proposed study is viable given the resources available at each location.

Some proposals may require cooperation with regional wildlife management authorities and the purchase of a study permit. In such cases ALERT will facilitate this acceptance and permit application process, but please be aware that these processes can result in significant delays.

Advance planning and preparation are keys to success.  Materials and equipment may not be immediately available on site or even in the country, so it is necessary that you plan comprehensively, with our assistance, for the needs of your study.

On arrival, you will meet our project-based research staff who will provide you with logistical support to ensure your data collection is carried out effectively. They will also give you an introduction to your project sites’ available facilities and give you any necessary safety and procedural training.

And the support does not end there; even after you leave the project site we will provide input, where needed, to complete your final written thesis.

Lisa Clifforde, MPhil, Exeter University

Deciding to undertake a postgraduate thesis was a huge life decision for me and the whole process seemed quite overwhelming at first.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but turning that into a viable research study was a daunting prospect.  Given that my field work was to take place in Africa my university was limited in how much support they could provide.

The team at ALERT were hugely helpful as I prepared for my study.  Their thorough understanding of the animals that they work with and the environment that they operate in was incredibly useful to me in establishing my methodology and making sure that it would really work on the ground.  They handled all the logistical arrangements for me and have been incredibly supportive as I have embarked on this journey.

I would highly recommend ALERT to anyone interested in carrying out a research study in Africa.’

Hannah Rae Kokes, MSc, Manchester Metropolitan University

It has been a dream and life-long ambition for me to work with lions in the African bush. Even before starting my post-grad I knew I wanted to conduct my own lion behavioural study, so when I was told about ALERT’s Facilitated Research Program, I was over the moon.

Working in the pristine Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park felt like a scene from Out Of Africa.  I was lucky enough to carry out my study on three groups of cubs at the project and spent numerous cherished hours with them.  The data I collected was invaluable; nowhere else would I have had access to such important raw behavioural data. It was also very humbling to know that my work would eventually be in aid of a pioneering conservation project and to see the passion of the people working there was inspirational.  Every day staff and volunteers were raring to go, smiles all round.

I would not hesitate for a second to recommend ALERT’s Facilitated Research Program. If someone is looking to pursue an education or career in conservation, this is the program for them.

Emily O’Regan, Bangor University

 I think this has been a great experience for me in terms of enhancing my practical experience of conservation.  I was able to participate in different types of survey and data collection and familiarize myself with various pieces of equipment and different data entry sheets.  The researchers, Bob and Angie, were very receptive of my ideas and research, and really made an effort to ensure I had everything I needed.  They were excellent and I enjoyed being able to work alongside them both.

Elephant and giraffe surveys were definitely a highlight. It was a great experience to be in the park so often and to have seen some of the amazing wildlife on such a regular basis. The camping trip into the park was also great – being able to see elephants in such huge numbers at the waterhole, and also hearing lions and hyena during the night.

I feel like this was a very useful experience, and I hope that some of the knowledge and skills I have picked up during my stay will be very useful in the future. It was also lovely to meet some great people during my stay. It has also made me really want to return to Africa!’

Emma Sopelsa Hall, Linnaeus University

The highlights were going in the vehicle to the lions with Emma, the researcher. I never got tired of watching the lions and doing research.  One day was never the same as the other.  I learnt something new almost every day.

I think people who have been to the project should continue spreading information, both about ALERT and the situation of the lion populations.  I noticed when I came home, that talking about what I did, not many people knew that lions are actually disappearing.

I gained lots of experience.  Not only have I learnt a lot about lion behaviour and field work in the bush, but also that the work of animal conservation is mostly done out of passion and contains a lot of challenges.  But I now know even more that this is a field I want to work with.  Another reward is the contacts I have established that both have helped me to decide what is the next step towards my dream job and also being great support for new projects.  I definitely felt part of the team.

Olivia Halloran, University of Glasgow

Collecting data with ALERT has really reignited my passion for zoology.  I love being in the field and this experience has made me want to do a PhD focused on lion behaviour and conservation.

One of the highlights of the experience was being able to see the lions hunting and learning how best to hunt.  I knew that was the idea before I came, but it’s hard to imagine hand-raised cubs being able to hunt and then you see it and it’s so stunning.  I feel like I could watch lions every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.

As well as lion behaviour, I also joined in on an elephant survey, which was really interesting.  It was nice to get an idea of the other work ALERT is doing and to get a chance to experience some different research than what I’ve been exposed to at university.

What have I gained from carrying out my research with ALERT in Africa?  I’ve gained memories that will last me forever.  I’ve gained excitement for the final year of my degree.  I’ve gained the drive to continue to do a PhD.  I’ve gained fantastic friends.  I’ve probably gained a lot more…it was the experience of a lifetime.

Camilla Broggini, Universita Degli Studi Dell'Insubria

This experience has given me the ability to do independent work, to learn how to obtain sufficient data collection for a competent analysis and to face all the challenges with the right mood.  I felt confident in carrying out data collection thanks to staff knowledge and the researchers’ professionalism which helped me face different situations.  Seeing how emotionally invested everyone is, makes me understand the importance of believing in ALERT.  The principal researcher made me feel really part of the team and I hope that my study will help the organisation.

Caitlin Cant, University of Glasgow

The research I carried out with ALERT enabled me to get to know the lions personally – their different characteristics and personalities.  I was able to collect data on a range of lions of differing ages and to get assistance and help from the lion handlers and other members of staff when needed.  The fact that I could participate and help out with the research on the Ngamo Release Pride greatly improved my field research skills and helped me gain more experience in practical conservation.  

I learned how to plan and carry out my own research proposal and how to adapt to the environment and set-up once in the field.  I felt very much part of the research team and I felt that my input was welcomed completely.  I met a lot of interesting people and made new connections and friendships; developing communication skills and general life techniques of living abroad in a foreign country.’

Alice Southam, University of Sussex

I learnt a lot more being in the field than I have in any class at University.  For example, I learnt about the difficulties of studying in the field and the harsh realities of conservation and controversy.  I have gained a lot of understanding about the challenges of conservation and research in a country like Africa while gaining valuable research skills and effective data collection.  Although I was undertaking my own research, I feel my data could one day help contribute to understanding the release of lions into the wild.

Some of the highlights of my placement were meeting new people and making new friends, gaining valuable research and data collecting experience, and elephants randomly coming onto the office premises!

To date, ALERT has facilitated research by students

Academic Fields:

  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Animal Ecology
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Environment & International Development
  • Tropical Resource Ecology
  • Forest Resources and Wildlife Management
  • Development Studies
  • Zoology
  • Zoology, Evolution & Ecology

From Universities:

  • Australian National University
  • California Polytechnic State University, US
  • Charles Sturt University, Australia
  • Copperbelt University, Zambia
  • Denver, USA
  • East Anglia, UK
  • Exeter, UK
  • Glamorgan, UK
  • Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute for Technology in Stockholm and Linkoping University in Sweden
  • Manchester Metropolitan, UK
  • Montana, USA
  • National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe
  • Newcastle, UK
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Varese, Italy
  • Oxford University, UK
  • Roehampton, UK
  • Princeton, USA
  • Utah State, USA
  • Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Wageningen, Netherlands
  • University of Zimbabwe
  • Glasgow, UK
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