A leading behavioural ecologist from the University of Exeter has become the 1,000th researcher to receive a national fellowship for her pioneering research contributions in the field of social evolution and animal behaviour.
Dr Lauren Brent has received a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to support her research on social dynamics and the evolution of cooperation in animal societies.
Her proposed research will examine the exchange of cooperative behaviours between free-living rhesus macaque monkeys with the aim of uncovering the systems that allow the persistence of cooperation, despite the costs animals might incur from helping one another.
Dr Brent, who is a member of the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter, said, “I feel very honoured to receive such a prestigious fellowship at this early point in my career in recognition and support of my research.
“The results of the research I undertake during my fellowship will hopefully have profound implications for our understanding on how cooperation is maintained in animal societies”.
Awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, the prestigious three year fellowship is presented to talented early career researchers. It provides salary and research support, giving the opportunity for individuals to enhance the depth, range and quality of their research and resulting in significant publishable work.
Professor Dan Charman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, said: “I am delighted that Dr Brent has received this outstanding fellowship, it is testament to the hard work, dedication and innovation that she demonstrates through her research.
“The College has a proud tradition of encouraging and supporting our early career academics to conduct world-leading research, and fellowship awards such as this illustrate just how successful, pioneering, and respected our academic teams are amongst their peers”.
Dr Brent will hold the Leverhulme early career fellowship at the University, starting in February 2016.
Dr Brent is a Lecturer of Animal Behaviour at the University and has also recently undertaken a widely published study into leadership in killer whales. She has also spoken internationally about her work on the biology of friendship amongst animals.