Claire El Mouden
I'm very happy, because one of the people I work with will be talking about our research on the Today programmes (BBC Radio 4) next week!
Abbey School, Reading 1991-1999, Edinburgh University 2000-2004, Cambridge University 2006-2007, Oxford University 2008-now.
BSc in Biological Sciences, MPhil in Development Studies (like international economic development), PhD in Evolutionary Biology, MA in nothing – Oxford gives them out to people who become fellows!
I’ve worked in Canada, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Kenya and South Africa. My favourite non-academic job was taking people to see wild boars in the woods at night when I was working as a ‘Wild and Active’ Guide for Canvas Holidays on a campsite in France.
Research Fellow, Department of Zoology
I use the knowledge gained from studying how animals work together to better understand human societies. I then take these findings and explain them to policy makers (like politicians, or the leaders of big organisations like the Bank of England). I try to help them realise how understanding more about human behaviour can help them come up with better ideas.
In practice, my research involves making models (doing maths on a computer), reviewing work that lots of other people have done and running experiments and surveys. Most of the experiments involve inviting members of the public to try to earn money by doing tasks which I’ve designed.
Here is a short video I made describing what I work on (and yes, that IS my light-sabre in the background!).
My Typical Day:
I don’t really have a typical day! I know this is what everyone says, but it’s true!
I hate getting out of bed in the mornings, so I don’t normally get up very early – that is one of the benefits of being an academic – you can (pretty much) choose when you work!
I’ll cycle to my office, check emails, do some work. Most days, I’ll also have meetings with the other academics who I work with. Every week I meet students and go to talks and often I travel to conferences. Conferences are great fun – they are always held in cool places (like next month I’m off to Miami!) – and you get to meet everyone from around the world who shares your interests and learn what everyone is working on.
In reality, this is what I spend lots of time doing…reading books and papers that other people have written. This is a picture of me in my office.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’d get this awesome rapper I know ‘Babba Brinkman’ to record a rap about the evolution of cooperation, which we could then show when people from my department visit schools
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Always Drinking Tea
Were you ever in trouble at school?
My friends and I once thought it would be fun to come in to school at 7am and wrap the art block in loo roll…unfortunately, we got caught by our geography teacher. Somehow I avoided detention by claiming it was meant to be artistic!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Sting, Adelle, Jessie J, Queen, Mr. Scruff, Sublime, Nina Simone.
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To own a dog, to travel more and to know how to knit!
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a fish without an eye? A Fsh!