International Collen-Francqui Professor Dr. Richard Shine

Each year the Francqui Foundation attributes Francqui Chairs to Belgian universities. In that way national or international Professors can be invited as guest lecturers.

This academic year the Department of Biology of the Faculty of Science honored Prof. Richard Shine (Macquarie University, Australia) with the International Collen-Francqui Chair. Promotor is Prof. Raoul Van Damme.

The Faculty organises the inaugural lecture on 7 March 2023 followed by a series of classes of excellences.

International Collen-Francqui Professor 
Prof. Dr. Richard Shine (Macquarie University, Australia)

Prof. dr. Richard (“Rick”) Shine is an evolutionary biologist at Macquarie University in Australia. He has conducted extensive field-based research on reptiles in many parts of the world. When invasive cane toads arrived at his research site in tropical Australia in 2005 where he had studied snakes for over 20 years, he set out to understand the risk posed by these alien amphibians. Since then, Rick has spearheaded a multifaceted research initiative on the biology impact and control of cane toads in Australia. The major thrust of his current research involves approaching conservation challenges from an evolutionary perspective and embedded within a detailed understanding of reptile and amphibian biology.

Prof. Rick Shine has left his mark on evolutionary biology with fresh ideas and studies on life history evolution, phenotypic and developmental plasticity, sexual dimorphism, and spatial sorting, to name a few. He has published well over a thousand scientific papers, more than thirty book chapters, and three books. Honoring his impressive scientific legacy, Prof. Shine was elected into the Australian Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, we refer to his profile prepared by the editors of Science in 2012, a Q&A session with Prof. Shine that appeared in Current Biology in 2017, and his own Wikipedia page.

Academic hosts (1 March – 1 June 2023)

Main host institution



  • Class of Excellence I (21 March 2023, VUB) Topic: “Cane Toad Wars: The role of rapid evolution in global change crisis and mitigation”
  • Class of Excellence II (18 April 2023, UAntwerp) Topic: “Not quite rodents or birds - why evolutionary ecologists should look at other animals”
  • Celebration Lecture (25 May 2023, UAntwerp) Topic: “Snakes, toads and new approaches to conservation”