# New European Alternative Finance Report launched
26th February, 2015
Two members of the Department of Geography, Mia Gray and Bryan Zhang, are co-authors of the new report Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report. The report captures an estimated 85%-90% of Europe's online platform-based alternative finance market. Seen until recently as a niche activity, online alternative finance including equity-based crowdfunding and peer-to-peer business lending has become a vital and increasingly commonplace source of essential funding throughout Europe for SMEs, start-ups and many other businesses, says the report.
While previous studies had charted alternative finance in the UK, this report is the first to cover other European countries in detail. Since its publication, the report has received extensive press coverage across Europe, from the Financial Times, Le Monde, The Telegraph, to Der Spiegel and Bloomberg.
The European online alternative finance market grew by 144% last year to nearly €3b and could top €7b in 2015, according to the first comprehensive pan-European benchmarking of alternative finance produced by the new Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School and professional services organisation EY, of which Gray and Zhang are both members of the Managing Board.
Online alternative finance, comprising platform-based financial transactions outside traditional banking, grew across Europe from €1.21b in 2013 to €2.96b in 2014. The overall European alternative industry is on track to grow beyond €7b if the market fundamentals remain sound and growth continues apace.
In 2014, €201m of early-stage, growth and working capital funding was provided to European SMEs and start-ups by alternative finance platforms. The volume of online alternative business funding has been growing steadily at around 75% year on year, and the estimated number of start-ups and SMEs funded through online alternative finance platforms has been growing at an even faster average rate of 133% over the last three years to around 5,801 SMEs or start-ups in 2014.
Mia Gray, co-author of the report says: "On-line platform-based alternative finance is burgeoning across Europe. However, it's distribution, diversity, and regulation is highly geographically uneven. This report is a first step in exploring these dynamics in various economies. The new Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance will enable us to critically examine this nascent industry from a geographical perspective."
The new Centre provides a disciplined research framework to support the fast-growing structures and activities of alternative finance, in order to address the growing needs of academics, policymakers, regulators and industry; the Centre plans to launch a research programme, host a Global Alternative Finance Data Depository, and organise conferences, networking events and a Fellowship programme.
Moving Mainstream: The European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report is available to download for free at www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/ccaf/movingmainstream
# Departmental Seminar with Prof. Richard Dawson (Newcastle University) on Thurs Feb. 26th
25th February, 2015
Please join us for the second of this term's talks as part of the Department of Geography's Main Departmental Seminar Series with Prof. Richard Dawson (Newcastle University) on Thursday, February 26th at 4.15pm for his talk entitled 'Adapting Cities and Their Infrastructure to Global Change: An Integrated Modelling Approach to Understand Risks and Tradeoffs'.
The seminar will be held in the Small Lecture Theatre in the Main Geography Building on the Downing Site and will be followed by drinks in the Common Room. After the seminar, a group will be going to dinner with Prof. Dawson. All welcome!
# New book on Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain published
19th February, 2015
A new book edited by Chris Briggs, P.M. Kitson and S.J. Thompson has been published: Population, Welfare and Economic Change in Britain, 1290-1834 (Boydell & Brewer, 2014).
This book grew out of a conference on 'Population, economy and welfare, c.1200-2000' held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in September 2011 to celebrate the scholarly achievements of Richard Smith on his retirement as Professor of Historical Geography and Demography in the Department of Geography. The book is thus an 'unofficial' festschrift for Richard and features work by his colleagues, friends and students, many of them associated with the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.
Population, Welfare and Economic Change presents the latest research on the causes and consequences of British population change from the medieval period to the eve of the Industrial Revolution, in town and countryside.
# CAMPOP featured by ESRC as one of greatest achievements in social science research
2nd February, 2015
Today the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP) is featured by the ESRC for its achievement in transforming our knowledge of Britain's demographic past. This is part of a year-long celebration of the social sciences and how they have contributed to society by the ESRC to mark their 50th anniversary.
Work undertaken at CAMPOP means that we know know a great deal more about the demographic and family history of England than we do of any other nation. It has also provided important knowledge about the demographic transition in Britain in more recent times, analysing census data from Scotland, England and Wales. The group's research has shed light on areas ranging from child mortality and family structures to housing and employment, and was crucial in revolutionising our understanding of how industrialisation first occurred in world history. The research group has been innovative in its methods of data collection and analysis, involving amateur and family historians in data gathering. A recent development has been an expansion of work using GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which is already producing many new insights.
# Geography Seminar Series: Prof. Melissa Leach, Institute of Development Studies (Feb. 5th)
30th January, 2015
Please join us for the first of this term's talks as part of the Department of Geography's Main Departmental Seminar Series with Prof. Melissa Leach (Institute of Development Studies) on Thursday, February 5th at 4.15pm.
Prof. Leach is currently the Director of the Institute of Development Studies. Until recently, she directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre. She trained as a Geographer here at Cambridge and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from SOAS. Her talk, entitled 'Ebola and beyond: Interlaced inequalities, unsustainabilities and insecurities in a global development era,' promises to be an excellent one, and we hope many of you can attend!
As the Ebola crisis continues to unfold across West Africa and the international community belatedly but now intensely responds, bigger, broader questions arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. What does the Ebola crisis reveal about contemporary patterns of environment, health and development? What would it take to build more equal, sustainable and resilient societies and systems, so that the events we are seeing in 2014 do not happen again? Can this crisis provide a moment for reframing development, in the region and beyond? In order to understand the causes and consequences of this particular outbreak, and to prevent such disasters in the future, our attention must turn to why such outbreaks occur in the first place and why they often have such devastating impacts in some places and times and not in others. The magnitude and persistence of the current crisis has exposed the hazards of living in a highly interconnected yet inequitable global political and economic system, and the consequences that can emerge from underdevelopment and related 'structural violence'. In turn, reflecting on these processes can help define future research and development priorities for a world where the risks of zoonotic disease emergence are growing.
The seminar will be held in the Small Lecture Theatre in the Main Geography Building on the Downing Site and will be followed by drinks in the Common Room.
# Valley on South Georgia named after Nigel Leader-Williams
26th January, 2015
The Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has approved the name Leader Valley for British Use for a previously unnamed feature on the Barff Peninsula of South Georgia. The Valley is named after Professor Nigel Leader-Williams for his work on reindeer populations on South Georgia in the 1970s.
The description agreed by The Antarctic Place-Names Committee is for a feature located at 54o 20' 48'' S, 36o 18' 55'' W, and trending east from Sorling Valley Hut to Montebello Peak. The name has been added to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Territory Gazetteer, and is available for use on all maps, charts and in all publications.
All the reindeer have recently been eradicated from the three areas of South Georgia where they had previously occurred (Leader-Williams, 1988). Meanwhile, eradication of the more extensive rat populations is ongoing. The aim of completely eradicating both the introduced rats and reindeer is to reverse their impacts on, and help the recovery of, South Georgia's native flora and fauna.
# Vacancy for a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography
21st January, 2015
The Department is currently advertising a 12-month Lectureship in Human Geography, with a closing date of 12 February. Further information is available.
# Phil Gibbard awarded the James Croll Medal 2014
10th January, 2015
Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the prestigious James Croll Medal 2014 by Quaternary Research Association at the 2015 Annual Discussion Meeting in Edinburgh on 6 January 2015. The medal, the Association's highest award, was given in recognition of Phil's outstanding contributions to the field of Quaternary Science. The award reflects Phil's broad-ranging and cutting edge research across glacial, periglacial and interglacial stratigraphy, and his outstanding contributions to national and international committees including the QRA, INQUA and the ICS' Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy.
# Nereus PhD studentship
7th January, 2015
Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship on the Nereus programme, with the topic of Mangroves, Fisheries and Community Livelihoods. Deadline for application is 4th February.
# The social risks of using drones for conservation
10th December, 2014
Drones are increasingly used to monitor habitat change and to catch poachers. But what might be the social implications of these activities, and could they undermine human rights and conservation objectives in the long term? Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed on this topic for the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 9th December. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 20 minutes into the episode.