In the past two years the Gibraltar National Museum (GNM) has developed a working relationship with the Faculty of Science at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

This has involved active participation of LJMU students in the annual excavations at the Gorham’s Cave Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site and also in the setting up of baseline studies for the monitoring condition state of the site using biological indicators. The collaboration developed in 2017-18 with an LJMU student deployed to work on related projects, under the supervision of GNM scientists, for a year and this academic year two further students are in Gibraltar for the complete academic year.

Recognising the contribution of scientists at the GNM to the partnership, and viewing their involvement in the collaboration as key to the development of research and of LJMU students, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at LJMU, Professor Peter Wheeler, has recently announced two professorial appointments of GNM scientists.

Geraldine Finlayson, a biogeographer who has dedicated a large part of her research to the study of Gibraltar’s palaeolandscapes in the wider context of the Iberian Peninsula has been appointed Adjunct Professor. Geraldine is co-ordinator of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is particularly involved in the management of the site, an area of work that also has potential for student involvement.

Clive Finlayson, who is Chief Scientist and Curator at the GNM has been appointed Visiting Professor at LJMU. His principal areas of research have been the study of the evolutionary ecology of birds, particularly in the Palaearctic Region, and of Neanderthals. He is Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and works closely with Geraldine on research and management of the site.

The appointments are a further development of the GNM as a Centre of Excellence for the study the Late Pleistocene and its environments and of its Palaeolithic inhabitants. Collaborations with other renowned international institutions are being finalised as part of this area of active research for which Gibraltar has become renowned worldwide.

The Hon John Cortes, Minister for Education, Heritage and the Environment said, “I am extremely pleased and proud of these appointments. They are not only recognition at a personal level, but also highlight once again the quality and global importance of the work being done at Gibraltar’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.”