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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 awards of up to £2,000 for PhD students undertaking fieldwork/data collection. These awards, offered to individuals, aim to help students establish themselves in their particular field.

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


23 November (each year)


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


2016 RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Award recipients

Physical environment

 Benjamin Pennington (University of Southampton). 'Environmental change in Deltaic Systems and the Emergence of Civilisation Egypt'

The aim of this fieldwork is to undertake the first high-resolution and fully analysed borehole survey of a critical area in the central Nile Delta, in order to understand the sedimentary record and paleoenvironmental evolution of the region. This will provide detailed environmental information that can be linked to mid-Holocene social development.

Conservation and sustainability

 Clare Wilkinson (Imperial College London/National University of Singapore). 'Protecting aquatic diversity in rapidly changing tropical landscapes'

Riparian reserves are the default conservation tool for protecting freshwater ecosystems, but the minimum width of reserves to protect tropical freshwater systems from anthropogenic impacts remains unknown. This project will involve working at the world’s first tropical riparian reserve experiment to determine the effects deforestation, land use change and riparian reserves have on freshwater fish.

 Christopher Marsh (Bournemouth University). 'The effects of forest degradation on ranging habits and activities of arboreal primates within the Gunung Leuser ecosystem, Northern Sumatra'

This project will use innovative, cost-effective means to collect geospatial data on tropical forest structure across a gradient of disturbance and link this to habitat requirements for non-human primates. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) will be used to conduct aerial vegetation surveys of a threatened lowland forest area in Indonesia, allowing the project to take place at an unprecedented landscape scale.

Society and economy

 Kalliopi Kaparounaki (University of Hull). 'Caring Children in Malawi: Children’s Work within Families affected by Illness and Disability'

This PhD project investigates children’s caring responsibilities in rural and urban areas in Malawi. Contrary to the negative outcomes many studies present, this project will explore both positive and negative aspects of young caregiving. It aims to further these perceptions by looking at the emotional aspects of care and by examining the family as a whole system.

 Ganga Shreedhar (London School of Economics). 'How do Social Connections influence Repayment Behavior, Preferences and Wellbeing? Linking Experimental, Survey and Revealed Data from Urban Slums in India'

This study examines the solar lamp market in marginalized, energy-poor urban slums in south India using a unique combination of survey data on social interactions, experimental data on microfinance and time preference games, and revealed data on loan repayments.

 Thomas Dekeyser (University of Southampton). 'Distorting Space: Subvertising and the re-engineering of affect in London and New York'

Although there have been studies into broader concepts of consumer resistance and urban subversion, the domain of subvertising and its inherently political relationship with mediated urban space remains critically almost untouched. This project seeks to perform the first in-depth investigation of the situated subjectivities and affective politics of this contemporary spatial performance in global cities.

Postgraduate Research Award recipients 2008-2015 (PDF)

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


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.   

From 2017, the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards annually will include three Walters Kundert Grants. These grants are to be supported in perpetuity by the Walters Kundert Charitable Trust through a permanent endowment to the Society. The Walters Kundert Charitable Trust also supports post-doctoral research through the Walters Kundert Fellowship.

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