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Geography and Environmental Studies Research (UoA14)

Geography at Newcastle University is the largest unit in the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology. We are a world-leading centre of geography and environmental studies research, scholarship, and disciplinary capacity building.

World-leading centre of geographical research

Geography at Newcastle University is the largest unit in the School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology.

We are a world-leading centre of Geography and Environmental Studies research, scholarship, and disciplinary capacity building. 

We celebrated our 90th anniversary in 2018. We have seen major growth since REF2014, doubling our staff to 55 FTE. This includes targeted investment in Early Career colleagues, including:

  • 23 new permanent lecturers
  • 13 Postdoctoral Fellows (NuACT, REA, Leverhulme, ESRC) plus
  • 34 RAs/PDRAs (through externally funded projects)

We've developed a vibrant community of postgraduate researchers

Award-winning outputs

Our award-winning research is organised around four major research clusters:

We host the internationally renowned Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.

Each cluster unites PGRs and staff at all career stages. We have broad communities of interest, which provide intellectual stimulus and mutual support.

Cross-disciplinary research initiatives

Geography also leads the way across multiple NU cross-disciplinary research initiatives, including:

Our facilities

Colleagues enjoy state-of-the-art facilities to support our evolving Geography and Environmental Studies research needs. Since 2014, investments include the Drummond laboratories (£3m), to support physical geography research. They include:

  • sediment geochemistry
  • paleoecology
  • sediments analysis
  • cosmogenic isotope and palaeoecological analysis
  • Geography’s expanded accommodation within the newly refurbished Daysh Building (£60m investment)

Strategic research agenda

Our strategic research agenda is to advance world-leading Geography and Environmental Studies research and scholarship.

We do this through productive mutual engagement with diverse stakeholders. We create new knowledge that has societal benefits.

This ambition sits at the heart of the GPS School Research Strategy. It is closely aligned with NU’s renewed Vision and Strategy (2019). Since 2014, NU Geography has been awarded £6.9m research income.

Our achievements

Prestigious achievements include the establishment and leadership of the £17m UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Living Deltas interdisciplinary global research hub. We're involved in five other GCRF projects (total £2.6m).

We have also diversified our international funding portfolio. Alongside UKRI and EU funding, 56 different providers support our research, including:

  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • VSO
  • TUC
  • HM Government Department for Innovation and Skills
  • UK Office for National Statistics
  • Environment Agency

Engaging with government, business, and society

We're building on our pioneering work through the UK civic universities agenda. Our tradition of engaged research has benefits for the economy, society, and the environment. Our innovative projects are co-designed with and for beneficiary communities.

Colleagues collaborate with more than 270 identified non-HEI research beneficiary organisations. They are within the North East, national, and international, and span:

  • international NGOs
  • national government
  • charitable sector and not-for-profit organisations
  • environmental groups
  • civic groups
  • industry

Our advancement of new participatory and arts-based methodologies continues to influence geographical research practice internationally. 

Inclusive research

Geography has prioritised a collegial, supportive, and inclusive research culture. It celebrates colleagues’ diverse research interests, funding strategies, and impact practices.

We reinforce our declaration of inclusive research principles. We carry out substantive Geography and Environmental Studies research on:

  • gender politics
  • inclusive economies
  • work/life balance
  • racial quality
  • LGBTQ+ support

In 2019, our School was awarded an Athena SWAN bronze award for promoting women in academia. Women comprise 45% of Geography’s 55 FTE. Our female senior research leadership is more than double the UK average. We have seven female professors.

Graduate school

Our graduate school is a benchmark of the quality, vitality, and sustainability of our research culture and practice. It's diverse in terms of gender, geographical origin, and social background.

Our excellence and leadership in postgraduate research and training is evident. We have many UKRI Doctoral Training Partnerships (ESRC NINE, NERC IAPETUS 1&2, NERC One Planet). 59 PhD students are registered per year on average. 85% have won competitive studentships.

Research excellence

The research excellence of staff has been widely recognised in this review period. There have been many research fellowships, awards, and prizes.

We have contributed to the international Geography and Environmental Studies research base through advocacy, leadership, and advisory roles across:

  • international learned societies
  • grant funding bodies
  • government committees
  • high impact academic journals

Our ambitions

Going into the next REF review period, our ambition is to extend our position at the forefront of global research agendas in Geography and Environmental Studies.

We will work closely with colleagues in the UK and internationally to train the next generation of Geography research leaders. We are part of a global interdisciplinary research community.

Research case studies

Find out more

Learn about our world-leading Geography and Environmental Studies research by following these links: