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Geographical Fieldwork Grants

Students from the University of Cambridge set up measuring equipment at the vent of the Puyehue volcano, ChileThe Geographical Fieldwork Grant is the Society's longest running grant scheme. Every year, we help upwards of 20 teams of students and researchers get into the field, through this grant scheme.

Several grants are available up to £3,000.

Deadline

31 January (each year)

Apply

 Geographical Fieldwork Grant guidelines (PDF)
 Geographical Fieldwork Grant Application Form (MSWORD)

 Code of Practice for the Grants Programme (PDF)

Advice for Applicants

  Geographical Fieldwork Grant Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
  Expedition Handbook: advice on completing expedition reports and risk assessments

  Listen to recipients of the Geographical Fieldwork Grant in 2011 talk of their volcano field project in Chile.

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2015 Geographical Fieldwork Grant recipients

  ‘Andravory Biodiversity Exploration Expedition 2015’ James Sawyer

The Sorata Massif is an unprotected area located in the North of Madagascar. The massif contains an isolated rainforest block (known locally as 'Andravory'). This area contains unique habitats and several unclimbed peaks which remain unexplored.  Trekking unsupported, this experienced team of mountaineers and scientists from Madagascar, Philippines and the UK will aim to access on foot and survey this unknown area in order to prove the biological worth of the area.

 ‘Vulnerable Cities: Disaster Mitigation and Resilience in Urban Philippine Communities’ Justin Cagaoan (King’s College London)

The objectives of this project will examine the social aspects that contribute to disaster risk reduction (DRR).  A summary of the findings and the implications of these will be sent to organisations and in-country team members involved with the research. The research aims to benefit the host country by providing findings that can contribute to DRR policies in the Philippines.

  ‘Tourism development on the Thai Islands of the Andaman Coast’ Nina Willment (Royal Holloway, University of London)

 This project will focus on the role of tourism development on the Thai Islands of the Andaman Coast focusing specifically on the islands of Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Hae. This project will be extremely beneficial for research within the tourism discourse. It concentrates on a large variety of indicators in relation to tourism development on a tourist route previously understudied in Thailand.

 'The Edge Effect: Mapping the Impact of Forest Fragmentation’  James Borrell (Queen Mary University of London) ‘

This expedition will go to an isolated mountain in Northern Madagascar, known locally as Avatra Dilana Marolambo.This is an area where habitat fragmentation has altered the geography of the landscape by increasing the proportion of ‘edge’ habitat, potentially altering the species community composition.  The project aims to build upon previous research by investigating edge effects in the forest fragments surrounding Avatra Dilana Marolambo, using Malagasy herpetofauna as indicator species.

 ‘Calculating ablation at ponds on Himalayan debris-covered glaciers’ Cameron Watson (Leeds University)

This project will use remote sensing (RS) and field-based surveying methods to quantify the importance of supraglacial pond development and associated ice cliff melt to the surface water storage budget of a debris-covered glacier. This will inform estimates of future runoff availability and seasonality, and improve understanding of a key debris-covered glacier ablation mechanism.  RS investigations will be carried out for the Everest region of the Himalaya, with field work campaigns focused primarily on the Khumbu Glacier, Nepal.

 ) ‘Interaction between ice loss and glacier hydrology, Russell Glacier, Greenland’ Abbigale Bennett (University of Newcastle

This project will evaluate the impact of surface roughness on melt rates at Russell Glacier; assess the effect of debris on surface melt rates; investigate the impact of debris cover on the water and sediment flux of supraglacial streams; investigate the characteristics of Russell Glacier’s hydrological system using dye tracing; quantify glacier ice loss rates into a proglacial lake and assess the influence of glacier outburst floods on proglacial lake geomorphology using sediment section logging and geomorphological mapping.

  ‘Gendered perceptions of agricultural and environmental change, Cordillera Blanca, Peru’ Cecily Church (University of Cambridge)

This team of four Cambridge students are travelling to the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, to investigate inter and intra household – and in particular gender-related – differences in perceptions and knowledge of agriculture and environmental change. The data will be collected over 4 weeks and formatted into a report for the Andean Alliance, a local NGO. The aim is to work in cooperation with the Andean Alliance and the community itself, to inform community discussions on development and environmental concerns.

 'University of Glasgow Iceland Expedition 2015' Charli Brzeski (University of Glasgow) 

This expedition aims to increase knowledge of the changing biodiversity, ecosystem and culture of Skálanes and to benefit the centre’s key principles of education, environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism. The studies carried out aim to assess the extent of human impact on this fragile environment and the contingencies which may need to be implemented in other similar environments. Methods will range from linear transects using GPS and ArcGIS technology, observational counts, water sampling, temperature and humidity measurements and questionnaires/interviews.

 'Impacts on reefs and ecosystem health in the Red Sea' Guy Henderson (University of Glasgow)

This 7 week expedition will be an exciting opportunity for both the students and academic advisors involved.This expedition builds on the previous expeditions and expands into new techniques to produce new data. This year, the team have a new study focus of the ecological health of the reef ecosystems and how changes are being shown by organisms across the reef. They will use the time in the field to answer key ecological questions in four main study areas. Specifically, investigating diurnal variation in bold shy behaviour of the freckled Hawkfish; environmental stressors on shoaling behaviour in damselfish; carbon sequestration and calcification rates in coralline algae; and apply biodiversity indices to scleractinian coral cover. They will also continue with public outreach work both at home and in the field with schools and environmental NGO's.

 'Mainstreaming gender equity into water projects in Syrian refugee host communities in Jordan' Laura Mapstone-Scott (King's College London)

The purpose of this project is to conduct an integrated gender analysis of water access and management in Syrian refugee host communities (urban Jordanian towns housing a high percentage of refugees) to inform a three-year Oxfam project to rehabilitate WASH infrastructure in the Balqa and Zarqa governorates. The assessment will use ethnographic interviews, focus groups and questionnaires with stakeholders to examine how water is owned, managed and distributed by water users in these areas.

 'The Karakoram Anomaly Project ' Sergiu Jiduc

The Karakoram mountain range is home to the highest density of 8000m+ peaks and alpine glaciers in the world. Known as the water tower of Asia, the Karakoram is the source for innumerable rivers, which in turn support agriculture, human consumption and energy production for more than one billion people. Worldwide glaciers are experiencing severe recession and many are predicted to disappear by 2050. In contrast, the Karakoram glaciers seem to be stagnating or even growing – a mysterious phenomenon, termed the Karakoram Anomaly (KA). This project investigates glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF’s), using a combination of repeat and time-lapse photography, drone videography, geomorphic mapping and ice flow velocity measurements.

 'Ol Doinyo Lengai: Studies on the 'World's Strangest' volcano' Jenny Newall (University of Glasgow)

This expedition to Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania, the world’s only active carbonatite volcano, aims to better understand carbonatite eruptions, establish an eruption history and study the volcanic-tectonic interplay at this unique setting. The team of undergraduate students from the University of Glasgow and University of Dodoma (Tanzania) will conduct pioneering research investigating the mantle processes which produce carbonatite lava. Their research will also explore the structural regime of the area contributing to current studies of rift dynamics and rates along the East African Rift Zone.

For further information on these projects, including a summary of the research and expedition reports, please browse the Society's Expeditions Database.

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About the Award

The Geographical Fieldwork Grants are generously supported by a number of external donors which include:

Macdonald Award, Gumby Award, Rio Tinto Award, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Educational Trust, David Cross Expedition Award, Penruddocke-Park Lander Fund, Rod Whitney Bequest, Sir Douglas Busk, Ralph Brown Memorial Fund, HR Mill Trust Fund, Marjorie Sweeting Bequest, Violet Cressey-Marcks Fisher Fund, Barling Fisher Bequest, Gough Island Fund, Stephens Bequest and The Jeremy Willson Trust.

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