Operation Wallacea has developed themed research programmes at multiple study sites in 14 countries worldwide. These research programmes are designed to produce data for a four-stage process including assessing the biodiversity value of the site, monitoring long term changes in key taxa, assessing the socio-economic value of the protected areas and then using these data to lever funds to establish best practice conservation management projects. Academics from universities and institutes around the world can conduct their own research into their own specialist interests as part of these programmes. The programmes are funded by undergraduate or Masters students who come to gain hands-on research experience either to strengthen their CV (résumé) or to gather data for a dissertation or thesis. All the sites are run in conjunction with local communities and organisations who have developed small businesses around the provision of logistical support for these large annual survey programmes. The research programmes are very much output focussed with at least 25 peer-reviewed papers being published each year.
There is widespread existing academic collaboration on the research programmes, and there are various ways in which additional academics can become involved in the research programmes. It is possible to apply for a Visiting Academic grant to visit one of the sites to assess their suitability to run a long-term research project or to take a class for a field visit. Operation Wallacea also part funds PhD studentships and is looking for additional academic collaborations to increase this support. The Opwall research facilities can be used by university class groups outside the June to August periods when the Opwall research programmes are running. Class groups can also be run with course credit during the Opwall season. There are numerous ways in which course credit can be arranged for students participating in the research programmes. Talks about the research programmes and their conservation impacts can be arranged from September to December each year. These can be given either in person by a member of the Operation Wallacea staff, or by webinar broadcast.