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RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards

2010 Postgraduate Research Award recipient Anna Muir collecting amphibian data in order to predict impacts of climate change on distributions, genomic composition and adaptationThe Society offers six awards of £2,000 annually for PhD students undertaking fieldwork/data collection. These awards, offered to individuals, aim to help students establish themselves in their particular field.

Awards are offered in each of the following areas: physical environment; conservation and sustainability; society and economy.

Deadline

23 November (each year)

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  Postgraduate Research Award guidelines (PDF) 
  Code of Practice for the Grants Programme (PDF)

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2014 RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Award recipients

Physical environment

  Sebastian Pitman (University of Southampton). 'The formation, persistence and spacing of rip channels in various coastal environments'

Rip currents are strong, narrow, seaward directed, jet-like flows originating in the surf-zone. They are responsible for up to 70% of beach rescue incidents on wave dominated coastlines internationally. This research aims to develop and validate an automated method of rip current detection that can be applied to any site where rip currents persist. The method will make use of Argus coastal imaging cameras and interrogate the visual signature of rip currents in the images. Subsequently, this method will be validated against field measurements at a number of international sites.

  Michaela Musilova (University of Bristol). 'Sustainability and environmental research through an analogue astronauts on Mars expedition'

Michaela Musilova has been selected as one of six UK analogue astronauts as part of a simulation expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, USA. The aim of this project will be trying to determine whether extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments, can produce organic matter in conditions where soils are not fertile, such as desert soils like at the MDRS or even on Mars itself. Thus, the study will have applied benefits to food and soil security in countries in the world with infertile soils/harsh environments.


Conservation and sustainability

  Tsvetilena Bandakova (University of Edinburgh). 'Farmer’s Rights: Conservation and Sharing of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Case Study of India’s Plant Variety Protection and Farmer’s Rights Act'

In many agricultural societies traditional farmers’ practices entail preserving part of the yield for propagation, exchange and breeding new crop varieties. With introducing intellectual property into agriculture the role of farming and indigenous communities in protecting biodiversity, pioneering agricultural innovation and improving existing plant varieties, has been undermined.  In response, developing countries adopted the language of “Farmer’s Rights” to demand greater material recognition for developing and conserving plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. India readily participates with the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001. The project aims at studying seed-conservation initiatives resulting from the Act.


Society and economy

  Saranel Benjamin (University College London). 'The Worker-Citizen: Explorations of Embodied Precariousness in the South African Countryside'

This study contests dominant notions of the “worker-citizen” challenging its application in an environment where the nature of work is changing and creating precariousness in the lives of low-waged workers. It will do this by studying the spatialities of low waged farm workers lives in South Africa. South Africa’s apartheid experience with work and citizenship was marked by violence, oppression and dispossession. However, the period of democracy, signalled the redemption of Black labour. The study will provide a postcolonial analysis of the worker-citizen with a focus on embodied precariousness as created through the encounter between the spaces of precarious work and precarious lives of low waged workers.

  Laura-Marie Topfer (University of Oxford). 'Learning or Selective Adaptation? The Economic Geography of Equity Markets in China'

Focusing on the role of foreign equity in developing capital markets, this project seeks to investigate the impact of financial knowledge exchange on the policy design of China’s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor Scheme. Based on the concept of ‘transnational knowledge networks’, this study is the first to investigate the formation of equity markets through an agency-oriented framework of economic geography. Drawing on multi--‐stakeholder semi--‐structured interviews, it challenges dominant paradigms of economic convergence and social learning. The findings will contribute to a better understanding of how ’glocal’ networks shape financial architectures beyond the common analytical focus on Western‐economic-geographies.

Postgraduate Research Award recipients 2008-2013 (PDF)

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 RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards were established in 2008, to support PhD students undertaking research and fieldwork. From 2008-2013 these were supported by a private donor. 

From 2014, the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards annually will include two Albert Reckitt Awards. These are to be supported in perpetuity with residual funds of The Albert Reckitt Charitable Trust.

The Albert Reckitt Charitable Trust was established in 1946 with the purpose of making grants to a wide variety of registered charities, including non-political charities connected with the Society of Friends.   

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