Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mapping the Importance of Geography to All Our Lives; Newcastle University's Head of Geography Will Today Set out the Relevance of His Subject to Political Leadership. TONY HENDERSON Finds out More

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mapping the Importance of Geography to All Our Lives; Newcastle University's Head of Geography Will Today Set out the Relevance of His Subject to Political Leadership. TONY HENDERSON Finds out More

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON

NINETY years ago Newcastle University's geography department started life in a First World War Army hut with an annual budget of PS50.

The hut was left over from the days when the Armstrong College building was used as a military hospital. Today, from those humble origins, geography at Newcastle is rated as equally third best of the UK's 57 geography units for the wider and real-world impact of its research.

Some 80% of Newcastle's geography research output is graded as either world-leading or internationally excellent. Indeed, a founding principle of the department has been to link high-quality academic work with the major environmental and social challenges of the day.

Now the department's 90th anniversary will be marked today by a visit and lecture from David Wood, the newly created head of geography within the Government.

His talk, Geographers in Government: Mapping our Future at 5.15pm at the university's Boiler House venue, will look at why the Government needs an understanding of how and why economic, social and environmental processes play out in places at a local and global scale.

During his visit to the university, he will meet staff and students to hear about the latest research being carried out and how, for 90 years, geography at Newcastle has influenced policy and had a real-world impact. David said: "I'm very excited to be part of the events to mark the 90th anniversary of geography at Newcastle University. I'm looking forward to hearing about the latest research and talking to the next generation of geographers." Head of Geography at Newcastle University, Dr Stuart Dawley, said: "We are delighted to be joined by the new pan-government head of geography at a time when geography and geographical skills appear ever more important for policymaking. We very much welcome the important work that David Wood and colleagues are doing to grow and champion geography as a profession within government.

"Throughout our 90 years we have forged a tradition for producing geographical research that engages with, and impacts on, some of the major environmental and societal challenges of the day.

"A distinctive feature of our geography department is the importance of academically excellent work with | Turn to Page 34 From Page 33 impacts, which today ranges from supporting workers' conditions in the South African cut flower supply chains to helping communities and policymakers understand and prepare for extreme flooding.

"As well as our research, we have a strong track record of producing geography graduates with skills that lead to important and successful careers across a wide array of roles, reflecting our commitment to research-led teaching and the employability of geographers.

"There is also quite a lot of heritage emerging that connects the work of the department to important impacts in the North East and beyond, especially the work of our inaugural professor, Henry Daysh."

Last year, the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies - part of the geography department - celebrated 40 years of leading the way in urban and regional development thinking and policy practice.

The work of the department today now seeks to influence policy debates locally and globally.

Its past environments research addresses questions about long-term changes in climate, ecosystems, and biogeochemical cycles. …

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