WaNPRC Global Programs is Unique Among Primate Centers

Randy Kyes conducting field course on Tinjil Island in 2015.

Dr. Randy Kyes of the Washington National Primate Research Center teaching students during a field course program on Tinjil Island.

The Division of Global Programs at the WaNPRC is a broad-based, multi-component unit unique among the National Primate Research Centers (NPRC). Working with partners in a number of countries, this division supports many of the National Institutes of Health objectives that are central to the NPRC program.

Global Programs Objectives

Resource Support:  Assist with the development of international breeding programs and the efficient acquisition and sharing of existing captive primates. This ensures the availability of nonhuman primate resources at a local, national and international level. The Primate Resource Referral Service is among the division’s respected services providing resource support to the primate research community worldwide.

Research:  Facilitate joint research projects relating to the biology, management and conservation of wild primate populations with collaborating institutions. The Division supports collaborative field research in the area of primate conservation biology to aid in our understanding and improvement of primate population health, management strategies, and long-term viability. This research also has significant relevance to human health.

Training:  Provide educational and training opportunities in primatology, conservation biology and global health for students, staff, and faculty from collaborating institutions. The Division offers  the “Field Course in Conservation Biology & Global Health” in collaboration with our international partners. These courses help to establish a growing body of well-trained, regional experts who are capable of implementing the programs needed to ensure the future of their country’s important natural resources. The training programs also provide international research and educational experiences for UW and U.S. university students and professionals from the WaNPRC other NPRCs. To date, we have conducted 90 field training programs in eight countries with more than 1,500 participants.

Outreach:  Engage and educate the general public about the importance of primate conservation, the significant achievements in biomedical research, and the translational value of the work. The Division continues to expand our outreach efforts both locally and internationally to provide unique educational opportunities for K-12 school children. Our goal is to promote an appreciation of the importance of biomedical research, the importance of conservation and sustainable use of primates, and to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM-based biological sciences.

25 Years of Field Training on Tinjil Island

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of field training on Tinjil Island. It was also the 20th anniversary of a unique study abroad program established in 1995 between the University of Washington and the Primate Research Center at Bogor Agricultural University. The International Field Study Program-Indonesia is a training program that brings together students from both the U.S. and Indonesia for a month-long field course focusing on primatology, conservation biology and global health. To date, 320 students have participated in the field training including 222 from institutions throughout Indonesia, 84 from the U.S. (including the UW and several other institutions), and 14 from several other countries including, Bangladesh, Thailand, Mexico and more. Many of these students have gone on to careers in science and applied fields in conservation and global health.

A special symposium was held at the annual meeting of the American Society of Primatologists last June to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the field training program on Tinjil Island.  This symposium covered the history of the training program, and program alumni reflecting on their experiences in the program and how their participation has influenced their career trajectories. Alumni often describe the program as “life changing.” We look forward to continuing this long-running program.

Randy Kyes | WaNPRC Division of Global Programs