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Peter Smith Award

The Peter Smith Award offers £1,000 to a team of second year undergraduate geography students undertaking fieldwork overseas.

About the Award

The Peter Smith Award, offered through the Society’s Geographical Fieldwork Grants, was launched in 2020.

Peter Smith was a long-standing supporter and Trustee of the Society, with boundless enthusiasm for geography, the outdoors and for learning. To learn more about Peter and his legacy, please read more here.

From 2015 to 2020, a named lecture in his memory opened the annual Explore weekend. From 2020, the funds generously donated in his name will support fieldwork and student learning, through the Peter Smith Award.

The purpose of the award is to support the development of second year undergraduate geography students through international field-based research, with applications from across the breadth of the discipline welcomed. The first Award was delayed until 2022 because of the travel restrictions of Covid.


Apply now

Interested in applying? The deadline for applications through the Geographical Fieldwork Grants is 15 FebruaryFind out more.

All prospective grant applicants are encouraged to read our Advice and Resources pages, which include more information about the grants programme, its conditions, how to apply for a grant and what is expected if your application is successful. Please read this information carefully and send your application, or any enquiries, by email to


Recipients of the Peter Smith Award

2024: Zachary Scott-Paul, Samuel Reeves, Charles Wright, Valerie Devereux, Eden Kong (Durham University) Assessing coastal sewage pollution using macroalgae nitrogen isotopes

This interdisciplinary research team of undergraduate students will assess post-COVID sewage nitrogen pollution around Gran Canaria's coastal environment. Fieldwork will involve collecting macroalgae from ~40 sites (n = 600 samples) for nitrogen isotope analysis at Durham University under the supervision of Prof Gröcke. This data will be directly compared to an equivalent sample set that was collected during Covid (2020). This research goal is to compare 2020 from 2024 to determine the impact that Covid and reduced tourists had on sewage delivery to the coast. This project may potentially lead to the modification of environmental policies related to tourism.


2023: Oscar Turner, James Chapman and Agnes Liddell (University of Oxford): Project Amu Darya - An Oral History of the Aral Sea Crisis

Project Amu Darya is an official Oxford University Expedition that will travel along the Zeravshan and Amu Darya rivers (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Along these Aral Sea tributaries, the project will collect oral histories of the socioecological breakdown of these waterways. This project will be the first to record and relate the upstream voices of the Aral Sea Crisis. The recorded interviews will form an educational film, made in collaboration with students from Uzbek universities including Westminster International University in Tashkent. This research will be shared via film festivals and educational platforms in both Uzbekistan and Britain.


2022: Lucy Friend, Emily Willans, Molly Aspinwall (Newcastle University) Glacier de Miage and Lex Blanche Glacier Expedition

This expedition aims to investigate supraglacial pond pollution and the composition and successional patterns of vegetation at the Glacier de Miage and Lex Blanche Glacier, Italy. To assess pond pollution, the team will sample the water, invertebrates, diatoms and sediments, which will then be processed and analysed in Newcastle University’s laboratories. The relationship between vegetation composition and soil conditions will be explored separately at both glaciers through quadrat counts and laboratory analysis of soil samples. Primary outputs from this research include individual research dissertations, in fulfilment of degrees in physical geography at Newcastle University, and presentations to Newcastle students.