The Pioneers

The Pioneers is a brand new series that tells the stories of people improving the planet. You’ll hear how Rolex supports these innovators with whom they share a passion for safeguarding the earth for future generations.

Gain precious insight into the fresh thinking that is disrupting received wisdom for the better; and learn how fearless action continues to be the crucial driver of change.

Latest episode

September 25, 2020

Episode 15 — Olivier Nsengimana

Rwandan veterinarian Olivier Nsengimana tells us about his mission to save the endangered grey-crowned crane, an elegant bird that represents wealth and prosperity but has been poached for people to keep as a pet.

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More episodes

September 11, 2020

Episode 14 — Brad Norman

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, recognisable by its celestial markings. Australian scientist Brad Norman has been tracking this elusive and endangered creature by using technology designed to study stars, as well as images collected through ecotourism. Norman is based in Perth, where he runs his company ECOCEAN.

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September 04, 2020

Episode 13 — Bruktawit Tigabu

Former teacher Bruktawit Tigabu is teaching children in Ethiopia about hygiene through a hit TV show she created, Tsehai Loves Learning. It features a six-year-old giraffe who has become a beloved character watched by millions across Africa.

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March 13, 2020

Episode 12 — Francesco Sauro

We speak to speleologist Francesco Sauro about the physical and psychological demands of cave exploration. He tells us what it's like to be the first person to set foot in a cave and how being a subterranean expert has enabled him to work with astronauts.

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March 5, 2020

Episode 11 — Mark Kendall

We meet rocket scientist-turned-immunology expert Mark Kendall to find out about his Nanopatch, which could revolutionise vaccinations and eradicate some diseases.

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February 21, 2020

Episode 10 — Andrew McGonigle

We speak to volcanologist Andrew McGonigle about the technology he’s developed to get inside volcanoes, where he finds his inspiration and how volcanology can take you to space.

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February 18, 2020

Episode 9 — Sara Saeed

Andrew Mueller speaks to Sara Saeed, founder of Sehat Kahani, about the “doctor brides” phenomenon and what she is doing to get female doctors in Pakistan practising while also making healthcare accessible.

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February 7, 2020

Episode 8 — Andrew Bastawrous

We meet eye surgeon and founder of Peek Vision, Andrew Bastawrous who is a leading force in making eye healthcare available for everyone.

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December 20, 2019

Episode 7 — Emma Camp

We meet marine biologist Emma Camp as she sets off in search of resilient corals that could save some of the world’s reefs.

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December 13, 2019

Episode 6 — Joseph Cook

Robert Bound meets glaciologist Joseph Cook to find out what life is like on an ice sheet and how he’s using AI to map these vast, icy landscapes as they disappear.

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December 12, 2019

Episode 5 — João Campos Silva

The Brazilian ecologist tells us about how his plans to save the arapaima — the giant endangered Amazonian fish — is not just about preserving a species but also about helping indigenous communities to survive.

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November 29, 2019

Episode 4 — Brian Gitta

We meet a Ugandan IT specialist who has found a way to diagnose malaria quickly, without drawing blood. He tells Andrew Mueller about his research and how he hopes to convince those affected to embrace new technology.

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November 22, 2019

Episode 3 — Krithi Karanth

In rural India, relationships between humans and mammals are increasingly fractured. Dr Krithi Karanth tells us how she intervenes by helping farmers get compensated for damaged land and by teaching children that the animals aren’t all bad.

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November 19, 2019

Episode 2 — Grégoire Courtine

We meet the French doctor making major advances in the treatment of paraplegic patients. He tells Andrew Mueller how he used his background in maths and physics to devise a spinal bridge that’s helping people to get moving.

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Nov 8, 2019

Episode 1 — Miranda Wang

Our new series begins with Californian tech entrepreneur Miranda Wang, who’s been thinking about the plastic crisis since high school. Now in her mid-twenties, she tells Andrew Mueller about her company BioCellection, which could turn a third of the world's plastic waste into wealth.

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This article was created in partnership with:

Perpetual Planet

Environment

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