Catalysts Programme

An eight month programme supporting social science leaders to drive organisational change


Are you the social science champion in your organisation?

Maybe you have some support from a manager or interested colleagues.  But it’s usually you chiming up in meetings saying “shall we think about human behaviour?” or “do we need to understand what the community thinks about this?”

Do you spend a lot of energy making the case for social science?  Explaining that people are as important in conservation as plants and animals, that text based data is actually data, and that yes, human ethics are important.


You’re doing this because you can see that if your team, project or organisation better utilised social science, you would all have a better chance of meeting your conservation objectives.

 I’ve been where you are – flying the flag for social science as core business for conservation, responding to sceptics and repeatedly making the case.  Having established social science as a permanent component of the science department of a large conservation NGO, I know that your determination is worth the effort. 

And now I work with people just like you, who share your vision for more inclusive and holistic conservation that routinely considers evidence beyond the ecological.

I know that it can be lonely.  And that change can be slow. It can take years or decades to feel like social science evidence is on the table in anything like the same way as ecological evidence.


But let’s be honest.  Conservation does not have decades to get comfortable with social science evidence.

Based on my experiences supporting individuals and conservation organisations to embrace social sciences, I’ve put together the Catalysts Programme to help you reach your goals sooner.  The programme will provide you with support and training to develop a tailor-made plan so that your organisation can accelerate its use of social science evidence.   


A person I’ve worked with previously said that working with me to develop a tailored social science strategy gave social science more credibility in their organisation – something that they had strived for for years.  Another described the mentoring calls I provide as critical for protecting the valuable space to think and bounce ideas around. 


The new eight month Catalyst Programme is a springboard for your organisation to rapidly increase its use of conservation social science, enabling it to benefit from insights into the stakeholders and communities you work with, and increase its impacts.

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An immediate support network

    You won’t be alone.  On this programme, you’ll be alongside other social science leaders.  There are five places on this programme, so you’ll have an immediate network of individuals who are the social science champions in their organisations – people who share your ambition, understand your challenges and want to see you succeed.

    The programme is led by Dr Rebecca Jefferson, an experienced social science leader.  Rebecca is frequently complemented for her ability to create supportive spaces for professional development and for enabling  others to make progress and achieve their goals.

    Bex: you were excellent! Your knowledge and experience are commendable, and you brought a positive and fun vibe to every single part of the course and encouraged sharing and a safe environment. I was lacking confidence but now feel a bit more confident and encouraged to put theory into practice.

    Natasha Silva

    Aruba National Park Foundation

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    What you get:

    ✔  Eight monthly training workshops with your cohort – by the end of the programme you’ll have a clear plan of what your organisation needs to do to more quickly integrate social sciences.

    ✔ Eight monthly 1:1 mentoring calls with Rebecca to get you moving past any challenges and celebrate the progress you make

    ✔ Eight co-working days with your cohort to protect your time to think and develop the strategy

    ✔ Review and feedback on your strategy and implementation plan

    The one-day online course, Essentials of Conservation Social Science for up to 20 staff at your organisation.  This will immediately help to build social science understanding and encourage conversation in the organisation.

    20% discount on the Qualitative Methods for Conservation course for up to 20 staff at your organisation to develop research skills for those needing to conduct qualitative projects

    Maxmium group size of five for the 2024 cohort

    The price is £7,500.  The Programme begins in March 2024 and runs until November (we’ll have a break during August).  All Catalyst sessions will be hosted online.  The Essentials course can be run in person subject to travel costs.

    Is 2024 the year you transform the way your organisation benefits from conservation social science?

    If the answer is yes – or if you any questions, please email Rebecca at  We can explore whether the programme is right for you and your organisation.

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    Who is Dr Rebecca Jefferson?


    Dr Rebecca Jefferson is the Founder of Human Nature. A social enterprise that empowers conservation professionals, organisations and households to have a more positive impact on the planet through training, collaboration and support.

    Rebecca initially trained as a biologist, and with her interdisciplinary PhD in marine sciences she ‘crossed over’ into the world of social sciences. Though rather than bridging a divide, she prefers to see social sciences and environmental conservation as collaborators.

    In her teaching and research across the academic, public, private and not-for-profit sectors she has seen time and time again the power of bringing the natural and social sciences together to influence policy and ‘green’ behaviours.

    Rebecca sees the growing appetite in individuals and organisations to do better – the desire to make changes to how they go about life and business so they have a more harmonious relationship with the natural world.

    More than this, Rebecca firmly believes in the potential for people to be a force for good as we tackle ecological and climate crises – humans don’t have to be part of the problem, they are the solution.

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    “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Rebecca. She was very friendly and it was clear how passionate she is about sharing her knowledge and building capacity in our colleagues.  Overall it was a great experience and we look forward to engaging with Rebecca again in the future.”

    Data Manager, International conservation organisation