The Geographical Fieldwork Grants offer up to £3,000 to UK led research teams carrying out geographical field research overseas.
Given the current epidemiological situation and associated constraints on fieldwork, the Society will not be offering the Geographical Fieldwork Grants scheme in 2021. We hope to offer the scheme again in 2022, with additional opportunities made available to support teams of students planning geographical field research.
The Geographical Fieldwork Grant is the Society's longest running grant scheme. Every year, these grants enable UK based, student-led teams (defined as three or more people) of students and researchers to get into the field. Grants between £500 to £3,000 are awarded.
To qualify for a Geographical Fieldwork Grant, the research must involve fieldwork that aims to make a significant contribution to existing geographical knowledge. Multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and collaborative projects are encouraged.
Team members can be working together on a joint project or each team member can undertake an individual, independent project (for example undergraduate dissertations or Masters theses) if these are linked together under a coherent research theme (this must be clear in the application). Each team member must be involved in the development of the research, and must take equal responsibility for planning, delivery and reporting.
These grants are primarily intended for undergraduate and Masters students. Projects in which the majority of team members are research active academics (including PhD students) will not be supported.
Please see the Geographical Fieldwork Grants Application Form for more information and further details of eligibility criteria.
The Geographical Fieldwork Grants are generously supported by a number of donors which include:
Alexander Awards, Barling Fisher Bequest, the Frederick Soddy Awards, Gough Island Fund, Gumby Award, HR Mill Trust Fund, Marjorie Sweeting Bequest , the Neil Thomas Proto Award, Penruddocke-Park Lander Fund, Ralph Brown Memorial Fund, Rio Tinto Award, Rod Whitney Bequest, Stephens Bequest, The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust and the Violet Cressey-Marcks Fisher Fund.
Deadline: 15 February
All prospective grant applicants should read our Advice and Resources pages, which include more information about referee statements, the grants programme, its conditions, and what is expected if your application is successful.
To apply you must use the GFG Application Form and GFG Team Members form and email these or any enquiries, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two referee statements are required. One must be from a university academic, not a member of the research team, nor directly involved in the planning of the research project and one should be from an appropriate in-country contact.
Your application will be reviewed by a panel of academic experts and teams may be invited to interview on the basis of this review. Interviews will be held at the Society in London in March.
James English (Newcastle University): Reconstructing past environmental conditions in the Sayan Mountains, Siberia
In collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Geochemistry, Irkutsk, this team of four Physical Geography undergraduate students aims to extract a series of lake sediment cores from four lakes in the Sayan Mountains of southern Siberia. Cores will be processed and preserved invertebrate remains will be analysed to reconstruct palaeotemperatures and past ecosystem structure. Spheroidal carbonaceous particles will be used to assess the extent of anthropogenic pollution in the region. These analyses will form the basis of third year dissertation projects.
Anya Gleizer (University of Oxford): Wandering in other worlds, talking with the spirits
This expedition to the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia will be a centennial retracing of the famed 1914 expedition route of one of Oxford’s first female anthropologists, Maria Czaplicka. The team will be approaching the project from the viewpoints of their three disciplines: art, anthropology and cognitive science. The result will be an immersive virtual-reality film about contemporary Evenki (Siberian native) lives and landscape, the immense change this region has undergone since Czaplicka travelled there (the rise of the USSR and perestroika), and about changes in the study of anthropology itself. This film will be exhibited in the Ruskin School of Art and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Arzucan Askin (London School of Economics and Political Science): Mujeres Tarea Vida: gendered experiences of climate change in Cuba
This research project aims to understand why and how women are at the forefront of climate action in Cuba, and examines the socio-political factors that determine Cuban women’s climate change resilience and their contribution to the country’s plan for climate action, known as 'Tarea Vida' (Spanish: 'Life Task'). A mixed-method approach will be taken, consisting of questionnaire surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and analysis of data provided in reports of Cuban climate change groups and government ministries.
Matthew Jones (University of Oxford): Usun Apau Plateau expedition
Usun Apau Retraced is a conservation focused expedition to Sarawak, Malaysia, following in the footsteps of four University of Oxford students back in 1955. The original team made their way up the Plieran river to the remote Usun Apau plateau, where they spent a number of weeks assessing biodiversity. In 2019, a team of three undergraduate students will be journeying to the same region to spend a month studying the flora and fauna of the region. Being 800m above sea level, the area is home to a huge range of endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. Through collecting baseline ecosystem data the expedition hopes to continue the plateau's conservation.
Natalie Lewis (University of Exeter): Project Madagascar, Iaroka Forest
Iaroka lies in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, home to some of the largest areas of remaining rainforest in Madagascar, which, if compromised, could endanger the continuity of vital ecosystems of flora and fauna. This student-led project will carry out biodiversity surveys in a new research area in collaboration with Development and Biodiversity Conservation Action for Madagascar (DBCAM) and local scientists from the University of Antananarivo. The project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the endemic species and the ecosystem services Iaroka provides to the local communities in order to raise awareness of their intrinsic value.
Aimee Edwards (Newcastle University): Investigation into the key drivers of ablation on Miage Glacier
This research programme involves seven separate investigative projects to further understand the factors driving ablation rates at the Miage Glacier in northwestern Italy. To achieve this aim, two groups will be working simultaneously during June and July 2019, one on the glacier and the other in the pro-glacial area. The pro-glacial team will look at differing aspects of stream characteristics, while the supraglacial team aims to understand the extent and effect of debris coverage, investigating its differing outcomes on different parts of the glacier.
Anna Kalish (Newcastle University): Russell Glacier expedition 2019
This project aims to assess the dynamics of Russell Glacier in west Greenland, in relation to melt, sediment supply and lake properties. Glacier melt will be determined from repeat surveys of an ablation stake interwork, and will be compared to lake and air temperature data. The team will quantify the impact of debris cover, microclimate and surface roughness on melt rates and reconstruct past fluctuations in Russell Glacier from proglacial landforms. Each of these research objectives will inform a dissertation project that will be produced from the results of fieldwork and data analysis.
Jennifer McFarlane (Newcastle University): Investigating the flora and fauna of Manu National Park
This project aims to deepen knowledge of key ecological processes and interactions to aid conservation challenges at Cocha Cashu biological station in southeastern Peru. Its objectives are to gain a better understanding of how birds aid in the dispersal of seeds across habitats; to better understand fig trees as a keystone species looking specifically at the interaction with the local ecosystem; identify jaguar habitat preferences and behaviour; and to investigate the effects of leaf litter on the microflora of bromeliads, a keystone genus of neotropical forests.
Geographical Fieldwork Grant recipients 2010-2018 (PDF)
Guidance and resources for applicants and recipients.
Hear from the Society's grant recipients as they recount how they conducted their research, and reflect on the highlights of the trip and what they will take away from the experience.
Grants of £1,500 for first year undergraduate geography students to participate in a fieldwork project.
Grants of up to £3,000 to help teams of students and researchers undertake overseas fieldwork.
An annual award of £12,500 to an expedition working in an aquatic environment.
An annual award of £5,000 for a challenging expedition or research project which furthers our knowledge of the planet, its cultures, peoples and environments.
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