Hello and welcome,
My research interests are varied but broadly explore issues of decision making under uncertainty, values, evidence and trust in conservation and natural resource management. I enjoy drawing on and exploring methods in expert judgement, decision analysis, risk assessment, natural capital assessments, behavioural science and open science as ways of informing decisions and motivating change.
I’m a postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Conservation Decisions Lab at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I’m working under the supervision of Dr Tara Martin. My work is split between three projects. I’m leading a paper that provides an entry point to the field of decision science in conservation for decision-makers, students, and those that just seek a simple overview of the field. I have co-developed and continue teach a graduate course in decision science and policy for 4th year undergraduate students at UBC, and I’m about to begin a project examining how co-benefits from conservation actions can be assessed and the merits / problems of doing so.
I’m involved in a range of working groups including the Canadian Food Web Working group, The IUCN Decision Science Working Group (DSWG), and a grant by the Packard Foundation to develop a monitoring and reporting system for marine protected areas in Chile. I’m honoured to be the President for the Vancouver Decision Professionals, a group that meets monthly to discuss case studies and techniques in decision analysis. I’m a committee member for SORTEE (Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), and a committee member for the Society for Risk Analysis Young Professionals Committee. I’m also currently co-developing the first virtual conference for the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution for August 2021.
I really enjoy helping people from all backgrounds with the expert elicitations, risk analyses and decision analyses. Please feel free to reach out victoria.hemming [at] ubc.ca.
In 2019, I completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne on assessing and improving expert judgements in ecological domains. I was awarded the Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD thesis for my work. Of particular interest were the IDEA protocol for structured expert judgement, and the scoring and weighting methods of the Classical Model (Cooke 1991). Expert judgement is pervasive in scientific domains and the consequences of poor judgements can be dire. My research finds the problem is not with experts per se, but rather with us. We often fail to know how to identify experts, to use experts wisely, or to provide basic steps that can help experts to provide their best judgements under considerable uncertainty. A key tip is to remember that expert judgement is used like other forms of empirical data. Therefore, we should apply the same methodological rigor and transparency to the collection of expert judgements as we would expect for the collection of other forms of data. Structured elicitation protocols help to do this.
Prior to undertaking a PhD I worked as an ecological consultant undertaking botanical field surveys and preparing risk assessments for major projects and threatened species. It was actually my experience in this role that led me to undertake my PhD. I found myself constantly requiring data, but finding that the data was unavailable or insufficient to inform the decisions and assessments.
During my PhD studies I worked as a consultant for the Centre for Environmental and Economic Research at the University of Melbourne. In this role I helped to prepare, facilitate and analyse expert elicitations, and structured decision-making workshops.
Following my PhD I had the privilege of working for a short period on the repliCATS project. The project aims to predict if scientific studies will replicate. The findings of this project are crucial to increasing the credibility of scientific research. My role in the project involved preparing and implementing the first elicitation workshop involving 150 participants, and yielding aggregated predictions about the likelihood of replication for 575 projects. The repliCATS project continues, and more elicitation workshops are underway. Find out more here.
Prior to these endeavours, I helped to co-create and chair the Victorian Biodiversity Conference. I believe every province and state should have a low cost and accessible conference like the Victorian Biodiversity Conference. The conference has helped to foster greater collaboration between universities, and between government and industry. It’s also provided a platform for younger scientists and managers to showcase their extraordinary work to each other and to the public.
Outside of these endeavours you’ll find me in nature, usually on a mountain or by the water.
If you have any questions, please contact me:
Dr Victoria Hemming
Martin Conservation group: https://www.taramartin.org/
CEBRA: https://cebra.unimelb.edu.au/home /
repliCATS : https://replicats.research.unimelb.edu.au/