Dr Paul Marshall

2023 Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Award

Paul Marshall

Dr Paul Marshall is the Head of the Nature Reserve program for NEOM, an innovative special economic zone giga-project in Saudi Arabia. He’s also an active Adjunct Professor at JCU. With a PhD in Coral Reef Ecology and Management, Dr Marshall’s ongoing contribution and dedication to the field of nature conservation has earned him the Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Award.

As Head of the Nature Reserve for NEOM, Dr Marshall’s current work includes leading the charge on developing and implementing ground-breaking conservation solutions that will safeguard 95% of NEOM’s 26,500 km2. In conjunction with programs such as THE LINE, a new approach to urban design and living, NEOM’s focus is on creating ways for humanity and nature to thrive in harmony through the development of innovative, zero-carbon urban living models while utilising just 5% of the region for development.

Key outcomes of Dr Marshall’s time at NEOM include securing the commitment to protect 95% (~ 25,000 km2) of unique and diverse habitats through the establishment of the Nature Reserve program. Dr Marshall’s approach emphasises the philosophy of bringing people into conservation and making them part of the solution, while maintaining a strong focus on science-based nature conservation through partnerships with the world’s leading universities. The protected areas include spectacular outcrop landscapes, snowcapped mountains, coastal deserts, coral reefs and deep ocean trenches.

Through this program, Dr Marshall is also leading the establishment of the world’s largest private nature reserve, which will host unique nature-based visitor experiences and benefit from an unprecedented investment in active conservation. He has secured funding for a Regreening Project of 100 million trees and a Rewilding Project across the entire Nature Reserve.

Before NEOM, Dr Marshall held key roles, including Managing Director of Reef Ecology and the founding Director of the Climate Change Program for the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority.  He has also been an expert advisor to a host of international organisations throughout his career. His career exemplifies his commitment to global conservation efforts.