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Helina Jolly

Researcher | Natural Resource Management Professional | Artist




"I love what I do, and every day I try my best to learn something new, unlearn something old and relearn what is right."

PhD Resources Environment Sustainability, University of British Columbia
MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation, London School of Economics
MSc Environmental Biology, University of Delhi
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Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala, India (2019) Photo credit : Priya Thuvassery 

I am an Indian-born natural resource management researcher and National Geographic Explorer residing in Vancouver, Canada. I have a Ph.D. degree from the Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability, the University of British Columbia, where I studied human relationships with the ecosystems in Indigenous landscapes. 

I grew up in Kerala, India and graduated from the University of Kerala as a gold medalist with a bachelor's degree in Zoology. I was the first rank holder at the University of Delhi, where I undertook my master's in Environmental Biology. I was one of the 20 Commonwealth scholars selected from India to pursue studies in the UK, where I did my master's in Environmental Policy and Regulation at the London School of Economics. In the last decade, I have been a  researcher, policy analyst and advisor to environmental projects in South Asia for government agencies, development cooperations, bilateral organizations, NGOs and foundations.


My interests in understanding the natural world have taken me to some of the most amazing places across the world, given me the opportunity to meet, engage and work with some extraordinary communities, scholars, and professionals. For that, I will be eternally grateful to the Universe.


  • Biodiversity and Ecosystems

  • Policy and development

  • Natural resource management

  • Natural resource users

  • Indigenous engagements

  • Communities of the Global South

  • Science communication

  • Public speaking

  • Gender dialogues



2016 - 2022

University of British Columbia

Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Resources Environment and Sustainability

Dissertation: Understand human dimensions of nature in Indigenous landscapes and learn how traditional societies function in Anthropocene.

  • Human- wildlife interactions

  • Forest fire

  • Culturescape mapping

  • Forest security


Supervisors : Dr. Terre Satterfield and Dr. Milind Kandlikar


London School of Economics and Political Science

Master of Science (MSc)

Environmental Policy and Regulation

Dissertation: Citizen Science Projects and its role in creating environmental awareness a comparative study of projects in United Kingdom.

Supervisor:  Dr Susana Mourato, Department of Geography, and Environment

Commonwealth Scholar

Represented LSE as an observer at UNFCCC, Bonn (2009-10)


Master of Science (MSc)

Environmental Biology

Delhi University

Dissertation: Avian faunal distribution along altitudinal gradients of Himalayas.

Supervisor: Dr M.K Pandit, University of Delhi

Gold medalist and first rank holder


Bachelor of Science (BSc)


University of Kerala

Major : Zoology

Minor : Botany and Chemistry

Supervisor: Dr. Paul TP

Gold medalist and first rank holder



Sep 2021 - Ongoing

Interdisciplinary Biodiversity Solutions Program

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, Canada

Research Associate 

Key roles and responsibilities​

  • Contribute to ongoing collaborative interdisciplinary research in solutions-oriented conservation science

  • Develop and design research and training products that supports integration of Indigenous and traditional learning and biodiversity conservation.

  • Build and mobilize knowledge based on biodiversity research.

Sep 2015 – Jul 2016
New Delhi, India

Associate Manager Discover Services

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Partnership building: Develop, execute and manage clients WWF International, WWF India, IUCN, NSDC (National Skill Development Cooperation), WWC (Wildlife Works Carbon) 

  • Financial management: Monitor budgets for specific client contracts and assist in preparing financial reports

  • Research coordination: Facilitate collaboration, support project development, coordination, implementation and evaluation.

Nov 2012 – Mar 2015
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
New Delhi, India

Junior Advisor Biodiversity Programme

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Research: Supported and managed the government of India's The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (TEEB ) Initiative 

  • Research coordination:  Conducted research and analysis for the 12 national TEEB India projects working with academic, governmental, non-governmental organizations and private sectors

  • Project management:   Engaged with key stakeholders in research, coordination, implementation and evaluation of the projects

  • Outreach and knowledge mobilization: Assisted the project in stakeholder engagement through factsheets, reports, workshops and conferences.  Supported the South Asian Network For Regional Development ( SNRD), GIZ, with its activities regarding natural resource management

Apr 2012 - Oct 2012

Research Intern Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India 

Key roles and Responsibilities
  • Assisted in development of adaptive capacities in vulnerable rural communities in India to cope with climate variability and change in four partner states Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.
Feb 2011 -  Nov 2011
Centre for Science and Environment
New Delhi, India

Research Associate

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Conduct policy and technical research in the area of water/waste management.

  • Provide technical support (planning and designing) and research support on Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems such as septic tank, root zone treatment, polishing pond etc

  • Policy research to provide strategic recommendations to government agencies for sustainable wastewater management across India and South Asia 

  • Network and campaign with policymakers, municipal functionaries and scientists on water issues

Oct 2010 - Jan 2011
Clinton Foundation
New Delhi, India

Program Analyst

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Supported evaluation of solid waste management systems at national and international level

  • Prepared a food waste to energy proposal for the Metropolitan city of Seoul , South Korea

  • Prepared animal waste to energy ( briquettes) proposal for Vaishnodevi Temple, India



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