About the Award
The Walters Kundert Fellowship offers awards of £10,000 annually to support field research in physical geography within Arctic and/or high mountain environments, with preference for field studies that advance the understanding of environmental change past or present.
Established in 2017, the Walters Kundert Fellowship is supported through a generous donation by the Walters Kundert Charitable Trust. The Fellowship was set up to encourage applicants from across the spectrum of geographical research to enhance the understanding and well-being of the planet's Arctic and high mountain environments through research. The Walters Kundert Charitable Trust also supports postgraduate grants through the RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards.
Applications are open to post-PhD researchers affiliated with a UK university or research institute, or Fellows and members of the Society who are employed outside the UK.
Deadline: 23 November
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Walters Kundert Fellowship recipients
2019: Professor Alun Hubbard (University of Aberystwyth). 'Ice sheet dynamics and sea-level rise: attribution of calving and submarine melting at Greenland’s marine-terminating outlet glaciers'
This research investigates the processes of submarine melting and iceberg calving at Greenland’s major marine-terminating outlet glaciers. This accelerating mass-loss is tied to oceanic and atmospheric warming, yet the processes controlling Greenland’s marine-sector dynamic-losses are poorly understood and remain the single largest wildcard in constraining the future response of the ice sheet over the next century and beyond. This fellowship will unravel the complex processes of submarine melting and iceberg calving that control mass loss at Greenland’s tidewater glaciers by combining state-of-the-art imaging with glaciological, atmospheric and oceanic measurements to directly test the hypothesis that year-round submarine melting plays a critical role in preconditioning and undermining Greenland’s tidewater glaciers.
2018: Isla Myers-Smith (University of Edinburgh). 'Testing the links between permafrost disturbances and vegetation change in the Canadian Arctic'
Warming of tundra ecosystems is causing rapid rates of ecological change. Recent advances in drone technology allow for the quantification of two prominent examples of climate change responses in the Canadian Arctic: permafrost disturbance and vegetation change. The team will quantify rates of permafrost thaw and plant productivity change over time and across the landscape, explicitly testing the correspondence across spatial and temporal scales on Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island, Yukon. This research will identify the optimum scale of observation for these ecological parameters and will inform the observation of global change impacts at sites across the tundra biome.
2017: Dr Arwyn Edwards (Aberystwyth University). 'In the bleakest midwinter: can Arctic glacial ecosystems survive in Polar night and thrive in winter heatwaves?'
Glaciers are living landscapes in summer, but it is not known if their cold-tolerant microbes are active in winter, or how they will fare as the Arctic enters a 'new abnormal' characterised by episodic mid-winter warming. This project will conduct fieldwork in the Svalbard dark season to address this lacuna in the biogeography and biogeochemistry of the Arctic. The project links sampling, in situ incubations and experimental manipulations to provide the first datasets which will reveal whether Arctic glaciers are perennial ecosystems and if glacier microbes might thrive as the Arctic faces bleaker midwinters characterised by unseasonal warming events.