Researching the World: Reflecting the Diversity and Scope of Geography and the World Itself, the Exciting Research Projects That Are Funded by the Grants Programme of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Are as Wide Ranging as They Are Fascinating

Article excerpt

Over the past year, with the help of the RGS-IBG, teams have travelled far and wide in the name of exploration and discovery. Every discipline of geography has been represented and every continent visited.

While the projects were primarily academic--such as research on black corals in New Zealand--not all the teams remained strangers to risk and danger. Indeed, many braved extreme conditions--Ashley Spearing made a month-long, 1,000-kilometre traverse of the frozen Zanskar river while monitoring snow leopards in India.

Yet not all projects were so far afield as these. Human geographers undertook investigations into post-conflict reconstruction in Bosnia, and in Scotland, researchers looked into the social exclusion of people with learning disabilities.

The RGS-IBG is the country's main source of funding for small research expeditions. Its Expedition Grants programme offers more than 15 types of grant, each dedicated to a particular area of study. The Ralph Brown Expedition Award, for example, gives 15,000 [pounds sterling] to a project concerned with wetlands. However, not all grants are for expeditions--the Innovative Geography Teaching Grants help teachers make the subject exciting to the next generation.

The Society offers more than just financial help--it also provides advice, information and training. Drawing on its long association with geographical endeavours, the Society's Expedition Advisory Centre assists more than 500 teams each year, ranging from major adventure projects to activities organised by school and youth groups. …

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