UCL Division of Biosciences


Remembering Ben Collen

Our close friend and colleague Ben Collen sadly died in May 2018 following a diagnosis with bone cancer 15 months earlier. Ben had a huge impact on conservation biology in his relatively short career, both through his scientific outputs and the extraordinary influence he had on those he worked with. Here we collate some of the many tributes prepared by Ben’s colleagues, collaborators, students and friends in CBER and our wider network.
We hold an Annual Ben Collen Memorial Lecture, to which all are invited.

If you would like to show your support for bone cancer sufferers please visit the fundraising page established by Alanna Collen in memory of Ben.

Dr Ben Collen

UCL memorial event

The speeches below were presented at the UCL memorial event for Dr Ben Collen held on 11 July 2018. The event, delivered by Professor Geraint Rees (Dean of the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences), involved heads of departments, members of staff and students across UCL and other partner institutions, as well as friends and members of Ben’s family. In honour of Dr Ben Collen, the UCL flag was flown at half-mast from the Portico. The family were presented with a specially commissioned book, detailing the impact and significance of his research.

Introductory speech by Professor Richard Pearson
Memorial speech presented by Professor Geraint Rees
Memorial speech by Dr Ellie Dyer

View photo gallery of the memorial event

Dr Ben Collen's funeral

Testimonial read by Professor Dame Georgina Mace

We once had a mentor in London,
An expert in wildlife abundance,
Jokes at your expense,
They were his sixth sense!
His laugh was really a good’un.

The name of our guru was Ben,
He was truly the nicest of men!
He liked really small hippos
And penguins called gentoos
He’s the best, it’s worth saying again!

By Judith Ament, Anthony Dancer, Sergio Henriques and Thalassa McMurdo Hamilton

The first Ben Collen Memorial Lecture will take place on 4 March 2019. Professor Rob Ewers from Imperial College London will present a talk on “Rainforest futures”. All are welcome to attend.

Further event details and registration

Selected publications by Dr Ben Collen